anne_mikolay_120Do I dare say it?

With only a few more days remaining before Christmas, I've already had enough of all this seasonal cheer.

I don't want to see another silly holiday commercial. Please, cease and desist, all you bare-chested, goofy male models selling Old Navy jingle jammies. Give this tired, middle-aged lady who doesn't want to take another step into a department store, a break! If I have to go out to purchase another last minute gift, I'll scream! Barnes & Noble's check-out line was so long over the weekend that I simply walked out; my patience for all this pseudo-holiday cheer is wearing mighty thin.

Obviously, I sound like Scrooge, but the older I get, the harder it is for me to feel the holiday spirit. There's just too much to do. Too much cleaning. Too much shopping. Too much cooking. Too many bills to pay. Too many cards to write. Too much to think about. Too much!

Christmas is meant to be merry and bright, but the nostalgia of the season stirs a sadness within me, a longing for the good old days, when my mother was with me, and my boys were tiny tots. My children are no longer clad in blanket sleepers and don't care if there's a plate of cookies ready for Santa on Christmas Eve. My Christmas traditions are not met with their wide-eyed innocence any longer. Take it from me: when your kids laugh all the way through their old-time, favorite holiday cartoons, and prefer to decorate the Christmas tree with their girlfriends rather than Mom, it's time to put “The Grinch” and “Charlie Brown” on the shelf and step aside.

I admit to feeling less than cheerful this year and making no attempt to bake cookies or string up lights or drag out all the holiday trimmings. It all seems pointless, repetitive, and very unappreciated.

And then my friend, Reverend Peggy Ray, sent me an eye-opening email that immediately put everything into proper perspective. Reverend Peggy reached into her heart and rewrote “The Night Before Christmas,” and I must say, her version is preferable to the original.

With apologies for my miserly temperament, and gratitude to Reverend Peggy Ray for her giving spirit, I offer you Reverend Peggy's poem. If you, like me, are looking for Christmas this year, please take her words to heart. May you and yours be blessed this holiday season.

 

The (New) Night Before Christmas

 

Twas the night before Christmas

And all through the house,

Not a creature was stirring

Not even a mouse.

 

Yet I was awash in most palpable fear

The end of the night was too soon drawing near.

I had presents to wrap and gift cards to write

As it was, I would not lay my head down this night.

 

Anger flared inside me; weariness washed through my bones.

Why was I facing this night all alone?

A feast yet to cook and so many to please.

It hardly seemed fair I had no time for ease.

 

I hung my head low; I had no time to weep.

If I was to hope my commitments I'd keep.

What had changed my old childish joy and delight

To the dread that I wouldn't survive this one night?

 

Where was the stillness, the peace I once felt

When in my church pew I had prayed while I knelt?

I clearly recalled the glad tidings and joy,

The tenderness I felt for the wee infant boy.

 

He had come to fill all our hearts with great Love.

He had brought us the lesson of rising above.

To help us replace our petty, hurtful spite

To focus instead on goodness and light.

 

It is easy to do when we remember His claim

That deep inside we are all quite the same.

We all share a burning heart light within

Ignited in us when our lives did begin.

 

All Masters have taught that compassion is key.

Kindness is learned at our own mother's knee.

Patience and mercy, steadfastness and care,

These are the gifts we can all choose to share.

 

My warmest wishes for you at this holiday time;

Accept all the Love sent to your heart from mine.

Receive it within and let it burn bright,

Then pass it to all you encounter this night.

 

c Reverend Peggy Ray

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