A Holiday Thought
[photo: starfish instead of snowflakes complement this garland seen on one of our daily walks around downtown St Augustine]
I can’t help it – plastic icicles hanging from palm trees just don’t get me into the holiday mood. Maybe it’s because we spent so many years in government service assigned to snowy places like Michigan and Wyoming before coming to Annapolis; or maybe it’s just the cliché images we’ve been bombarded with. Whatever, but songs like “Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow;” or “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” have been running through my head, jarringly incompatible with the 80-degree sunny days we’ve been having. Day before yesterday, we took the dinghy to the beach for a picnic, waded along the water’s edge picking up seashells and watched dolphins playing in the harbor. A lovely day, but not a lovely “two-days-before-Christmas-catch-the-spirit” kind of day. For me, that means coming home to a crackling fire in the fireplace, not coming home to wash off the salt and turn on the air conditioning.
And then this morning I woke up next to the one I love, safe and well-fed, on a boat, in an interesting new city, and realized another holiday image that doesn’t depend on snowflakes or reindeer. It’s the image of gratitude, and the realization that the greatest gifts aren’t the ones that come in packages wrapped in shiny paper. Cliché? Maybe. But maybe it’s a cliché because it’s repeated often, and it's repeated often because it’s very, very true. The greatest gifts are not those that you can touch with your hands; they are the ones that you touch with your heart.Wishing you all peace, love, joy … all the things that matter most, this holiday season.