I like to think that tonight, Christmas Eve, will be a special night; full of reverence and quiet joy. I love Christmas and this year is no exception. I have, however, shifted my focus from the usual commercial excess to embracing the spirit of the season.
For me, Christmas was always about gifts; giving and receiving. This part hasn't changed; it is still about gifts. The only difference is that many of the gifts I am giving this year were not bought at a store; they were bought in the school of life.
From my grandmother I learned to cook and with this gift I am bringing some of the offerings from my kitchen to my family; gingerbread, shortbread, French bread, cranberry sauce and dip.
From my mother I learned to listen with compassionate ears and with this gift I bring my willingness to open my heart and listen to my friends and family.
From my father I learned to love work and with this gift I bring my appreciation and joy at being useful and earning a living through doing what it is I love to do.
From my brother I have learned the kindness and generosity of sharing hospitality and friendship with those I love and with this gift I open my home to my friends and family and share the warmth and comfort that comes with good friends.
From my sons I have learned to accept change, grow and develop my potential and with this gift I continue to take new steps forward into unfamiliar terrain and likewise encourage others to do the same.
And last, but certainly not least, from my husband I have learned patience and with this gift I have learned to slow down, to allow life to unfold and to feel at peace even when the world does not always look that peaceful or the way I want it to look.
What a gift to learn at last that patience is indeed a virtue.