I enjoy Christmas so much that I always prefer to think of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” and when the celebration is completed, I begin to look forward to the next December. These days, however, for some among us, are filled with melancholy.
Some of my most pleasant memories are associated with my parents and grandparents, my sister, Marie, my mother-in-law and father-in-law, two of the most wonderful people I have ever known. When Kitty and I were married, it was a family affair. Not just two people in love with each other.
Many young people fail to realize that there are more than just two people involved in a marriage. The day usually comes, however, when they discover that they did actually marry the whole family. On our wedding day, I received the gift of Kitty’s three beautiful sisters and one talented brother.
At Christmas, I think of all those people who have immeasurably blessed my life. There are also the uncles, aunts and cousins.
One of the things that helps bring back many memories for me are the cards and letters we receive during the Christmas season. I read every word on every card and letter.
For some people the entire month of December, with its Christmas joy and blessings, becomes a very disappointing period. When they recall years past, there are reasons to be depressed, sad, heartsick, forlorn and despondent.
Of such days, Victor Hugo described them as “The pleasure of being sad.” They are characterized as being scarred with disease, death, misfortune and heartbreak. We can overcome such haunting memories and find peace in the One about whom the angels sang, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:14).
The Child Jesus grew and approximately 33 years later the strong and courageous Man Jesus said to those who followed Him, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
We have celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ. I can think of many days and experiences in what we call the Season of Advent and the numerous ways in which we have experienced the joys of Christmas.
We have enjoyed being with family, friends, various church functions, the citizens of our community, county and states across America and the world. We watched television programs that brought blessing to our lives. We have enjoyed music by radio, CDs and DVDs, concerts and singing with congregations where we have gathered in churches, homes and with service clubs.
In the Rotary Club of which I am a member, we put “service above self”. We become aware of the needs of others and do what we can to lighten their burdens.
It is a blessing, indeed, to pray for others and know that they also pray for you. I pray daily for President Obama and his family, the members of Congress, the Supreme Court, the President’s Cabinet and those who serve in our military and special government forces. I include the leaders of our state and county in my circle of friends and I pray for them.
Whatever any of us did during Christmas to make life better for others, it will be a good thing to carry that kind of concern into all the days of 2011.
Some tips for beginning tomorrow to make life better. Enjoy what you ate during Christmas. Now, cut the intake the rest of this year and next year. Read a book a week. Spend more time away from the cell phone, facebook, computer and telephone. More time thinking and reading. Try it and you’ll be surprised.
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Bill Ellis is a syndicated columnist, and convention and conference speaker on every continent. He is the writer of more than 2,000 newspaper and magazine columns, articles and contributions to books. He is also a widely known motivational speaker and pulpit guest who utilizes enjoyment of life and just plain fun and laughter while speaking to high school, university and professional sports teams as well as to business and professional groups of all kinds. His keen understanding of human problems makes him a favorite speaker for youth, parent, and senior adult meetings. He is accompanied by Kitty, his wife, favorite singer, editor and publisher.
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