We are gifts

It is born out of need every year.  We gather them up and bring them to the makeshift hospital I've set up in our home.  The lame and broken are scattered on the counter before me, and I get to work restoring them all.

One year, I remember, I cared for two decapitated Cinderellas.  The tragedy of it all overwhelmed my little girls who's pictures were forever posed right beside the delicate ornamental characters, their smiles clueless to the brokenness so close to them.  It was a strange site.  They were right beside the severely injured, yet so unaware of their neighbor's plight.

A dab of stubborn glue healed the situation and they were placed back on the tree.  You'd have to look closely to see the hairline scar, a reminder of what was.

It's nearly Christmas.

Our Advent calenders are dwindling down, and the kids are full excitement.  I remember how slowly the days would pass.  Now I feel there is barely enough time to breathe deep before another sun rises.  I'm not dreading the day.  I love Christmas, but I think of those who are struggling between the days.

My mother, at sixteen, lost her father a week before Christmas.  I know she was broken, and how she still wears the scars.  I was sixteen when she weeped through the full story in intricate detail.  I wanted to save her from the tender places that still ached after thirty years.  I wanted to make her story better with a bit of stubborn glue, but all I could do was listen to how she'd lost her heart at Christmas.

Sometimes, that's all we can do.

We think of Christmas as a time for family.  We can give up the parties, and the presents, and all of the merry making if we only have each other.  But what we if don't?  What if someone is missing this year?

I think of children who've been swallowed by the earth, and how their stockings hang empty on the mantel.  I think of families, of husbands and wives, who are broken into so many pieces that they can't imagine they might ever feel whole again.

If we were honest with each other, we'd tell stories of how we're all a bit broken.  We'd share our scars and display our hairline cracks, those of us who've survived.

We could do that for each other.

We could open up a bit of our past, pull away the coverings of things we try to hide, try to forget.  We could reveal those tender red places, and stop pretending that they don't still hurt.  We could be brave.

And all of this could be a gift, for you and for me and for an entire world of people who are walking around without their heads.  Knowing one might understand, might care that we are hurting could make all the difference.  Together we can carry on, carry through, survive and heal.

Christmas is coming.  You can be a gift.


  1. Christmas has always been a time of personal blessing. I cannot remember a Christmas (and I CAN remember a lot of them) that found my stocking empty or my name missing from the piles of gifts under the tree. I wish I could say I always knew it was Jesus' birthday but for years I thought it was primarily about me. The piece of pie and note for Santa was from me. The stocking with my name scribbled beside it was mine and the predictable gifts were mine to do with as I pleased. Selfish little guy! The one gift I wanted, and never received, was an electric train. I no longer desire one and cannot defend my need for one in those safe exciting years of my youth. I have slowly come to realize Christmas is actually a birthday celebration. Jesus the "Christ" arrived on earth as a token of God's love for us. Jesus came to save Bernard. So in a sense it really was all about me. I'm one lucky (blest) guy!

    1. Oh Bernie! You do weave such wonderful truths into your stories. Always delightful, always clever.


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