Amid all the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, I try not to miss the small things that make the holiday special. For example, I noticed this camellia bush in my backyard blooming just this week.
This plant has a history. My middle daughter, who shares my love of gardening, gave it to me several years ago. It was much smaller then, and it almost didn’t live in the first location I chose for it. Or the second. The third site, fortunately, proved to suit it.
Since this camellia bush was a gift from my daughter, I worked hard to keep it alive, digging it up and replanting it two times. Had I bought it myself, I probably would have written it off as dead in its first location. Looking at it now, though, I’m glad I persevered in finding just the right spot in my yard. The camellia bush is rewarding me by blooming here at Christmas.
Another small Christmas moment, this one funny. Look at this young fellow, one of my grandsons. His mother has reported that not only did he eat all the chocolate candy in his Advent calendar early, he also polished off his brother’s as well.
I know the feeling. I had the same problem rationing that bag of double-dipped chocolate-covered peanuts from Smith’s Grocery. We can only laugh.
This five-year-old is also super-excited about his one big Christmas gift from his granddad and me. Whenever we FaceTime these days (he lives in Charlotte), I have to walk the phone upstairs, flip it around, and show him the package wrapped with “Grinch” paper. The present is so big I haven’t put it under the tree.
I hope he’s as excited once he opens the gift as he’s been about getting it. (In case you’re wondering, it’s some kind of Hot Wheels garage, suggested by his mother.)
Speaking of presents, each year I hang this Chinese good luck knot, once given to me at Christmas by a student at the community college. English was his second language, and he struggled in my composition class. Still, he was always positive, hardworking, and respectful.
It’s not often those of us who teach adults get presents from our students, so I treasure this token of appreciation.
Another simple gift that I cherish hangs on my tree. Early in my married life, some forty-plus years ago, my grandmother handstitched these gingerbread men for me. She was trying to help a young bride with a tight Christmas budget have something to fill up a Christmas tree.
These days, I could certainly replace these humble felt gingerbread fellows, a little ratty now from years of use, with something more elegant. I wouldn’t dream of doing so.
With all the busyness of the season–the parties, the presents, the food, even the family time–it’s easy to lose sight of the true significance of the holiday. A simple cross near the top of my Christmas tree helps keep me centered. I look at it often and remember the words from the Gospel of Luke:
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”