Christmas Reflections 1999

You'll notice this is called Christmas Reflections this year rather than the Christmas "Poem". This is because it seems to be getting more difficult each year to say what I want to say and make it all fit nicely into rhyme form without repeating what I have done years past. Perhaps some years I just feel more inspired than I do this year. Of course, I started this at the very last moment, hoping the mood would hit me and the words would come flowing out of me. I just hasn't happened this year and I am not sure why. I love Christmas. Anyone who has been to my house at Christmas knows that. Anyone who has helped us move has probably cursed me for it. But for some reason the Christmas spirit has eluded me this year. It's easy to get caught up in all the preparations of the season and lose sight of what it's all about. I am truly thankful for Christ's birth and all that it means to the world and I feel blessed for all the gifts I have been given. But somehow, the mood just isn't there yet, so I begin to think about why I love Christmas. I love t the sights and sounds and smells, of course, but more than anything I think Christmas is special because of the sense of family that comes with it. I think without family this day would be the saddest day of the year, and so I look at today as a gift. It is not exactly the "perfect" gift that I wished for , for it was, Tim, Trevor and Austin would be sitting here with us and our family would be complete. But I certainly am thankful that Tim has someone special to spend Christmas with and that he is trying to move forward with his life after a very trying year. I know that we will all continue to keep them in our thoughts and prayers. Everything else about this gift is wonderful. I am most thankful that we have had another year with Grandpa and Grandma, that they are not only here today, but active, vital and still very much the leaders of our family. I am very thankful for all the memories they have created for all of us. I don't think anyone could ask for more loving parents and grandparents than they have been to us.
We are all happy to have Scott and his family home, and that Judy, Ryan and Zachary are able to spend Christmas with us for the very first time. Becky, Jon, and Kent are here also, after too long an absence and will be adding another member to their family any day now. Mike and Kathy are spending their first Christmas with Ryleigh after waiting so patiently for her arrival and I am sure it has been a momentous year for their family. Mark and Cindy have seen Barrett start school this year and Skyler grow into a lovely young lady. Matthew and Marissa are busy being big brother and sister with the addition of Joshua. They bring much joy to our Carl and me.

We all know we owe much to our parents, who have passed on traditions, memories and integrity to us, for always making us a priority. They have been very selfless with their children and grandchildren and I think I speak for my generation when I say each one of us knows we are loved unconditionally. I believe that is the greatest gift you can give a child and we certainly have been blessed to receive that from you.
And when we all come together as a family, something special seems to happen. I've heard it said that holidays just intensify whatever is happening in a family. If relationships are good, the day goes well. If they are not so good you can only imagine. I think it is a credit to our family that we all want to be together for Christmas more than anything. That we look forward to having a day together to laugh, talk, remember Christmases past, carry on traditions, and catch up on each others' lives. I am grateful for the generations before me that have passed on the importance of family. I don't think it is any mistake that we have all turned out to be productive human beings. That none of us are sitting in jail, or involved with the ills of society. That we honor God and know that the true meaning o Christmas is the birth of Christ. That we support one another during times of sorrow and times of joy. I indeed feel fortunate to be a member of such a wonderful family. And so, though inspiration has thus far eluded me this year, the spirit of family has not, and I can only hope that the spirit of Christmas is not far behind. May the coming year bring peace and happiness and may the new Millennium be filled with pure joy for each and every one of us. Merry Christmas 1999.

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