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The Happy Christmas
Photo: Demian Simpson
Perhaps you remember the following “true” Christmas story that happened a couple of years ago. A Washington state mother found the gift of her dreams – almost six feet tall and wrapped in a desert camouflage uniform – among the holiday decorations at a local shopping mall.

Debbie (the mom) and her sister, Nancy, were at the mall telling Santa what they wanted for Christmas. Debbie’s wish? She wanted her son safely back home from Iraq for the holidays. Then she found Pfc. Bobby, age 20, in among the Christmas ornaments!

“What better Christmas present could I give than coming home and surprising her?” he said. When he learned he’d be home for the holidays, he told his aunt and father he wanted to surprise his mom who hadn’t seen him in over a year. Can you imagine her joy?

Relationships Rather than Material Possessions 

This story confirms that it is relationships rather than material possessions that make for a happy Christmas. While it is fun and exciting to receive special gifts, what would they be without the giver? After all, things only satisfy for a short time, while loving relationships are meant to endure for eternity.

Facing the holidays is not without its challenges. Sometimes we long to be with those special people we love but it’s not possible. Other times, we are with the people we should love but wish we weren’t because their personalities rub us the wrong way.

Unrealistic expectations of the holidays often set the stage for disappointment when things don’t go, and people don’t act, “perfectly.”

This is a season that calls for an extra measure of love and forbearance as we remember there is no perfect Christmas because there are no perfect people. The happy Christmas comes when we can love our family members despite their faults, the way God does, unconditionally. The happy Christmas comes when we can laugh at ourselves, say, “I’m sorry,” and deeply treasure the time we have together.

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By Kathy A Lewis. Copyright © 2006 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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