Merry Christmas!

What a wonderful season, and proof that Jesus is the reason....I have to wish all of yall a Merry Christmas, via my Best Friend for 30 years, Mana.  She wrote this for her fellow teachers and I was blessed to receive it as well....May God continue to Bless Yall....

Many years ago, as I was rushing around finishing the last of my holiday shopping and feeling all of the ordinary stresses that the holidays bring, I passed a church sign which read "Children need your PRESENCE, more than your PRESENTS".  I had somewhat of an epiphany that day...while I rushed around like a mad woman finding all the best deals and latest and greatest holiday items, I was missing out on the greatest gift of all...TIME SPENT WITH MY FAMILY!  I have always remembered the words I read on that day and ,although I still lavish far too many gifts on my own children (and spoil them beyond words!), I never take for granted the little joys that come along with parenthood.  This tiny phrase, simplistic in it's nature, is one that I often repeat to parenting "mantra" if you will.

This year, well this year is different than all of those which have come before.  While I sat in my living room last night, watching the world news, a segment about letters to Santa came on.  Sitting there, listening to the reporter with my children happily playing in our comfortable, festively decorated home, tears began to pour down my cheeks.  You see, the segment was about Santa's a story they do every year...but this year was different.  The tone was not merry or joyous as in years past.  This report was more somber...heartfelt.  According to the report, there are twelve post offices accross the nation that accept Santa Letters.  Each year, volunteers arrive to open, read, and sometimes respond to the thousands of letters mailed to the "Big Man in Red".  This year, however, there are literally millions of letters, two million in New York City alone, filled with stories of heartbreak and despair. They do not contain endless requests for toys or promises to be good if they just get that new "something".  The letters this year contain something very different...pure and innocent wishes written by children asking for mommy or daddy to get a job...requests for shoes or coats for baby brothers or sisters. The words...well they are simply heartbreaking.  But, the most heartbreaking of all are not the letters penned by children...they are the ones written by parents.  Words put on paper, expressing the despair that so many in our nation are feeling...statements of faith and belief in Santa Claus, appeals for help from their last resource.  The requests often come from single parents and unemployed families who are simply devastated at their inability to provide basic needs for their children.  Once again, a tremendous sense of humility overcame me and I felt very ashamed of the stack of gifts lying under my own tree.

Yesterday as I trudged out into the snow and ice, muttering under my breath something about 13 snow days and road conditions, I was reluctant (and a bit bitter) about having to go to work in those conditions.  Today, I awoke (hopeful for snow, of course) but more importantly, thankful for this job that I have, thankful for the opportunities it affords me, thankful for the blessings that my God has chosen to bestow upon me...for I know that there are milllions who would venture out into the depths of snow and ice just to have a job.  Thankyou God for finding me worthy and deserving of the blessings you have bestowed upon me.  Thank you Father for having confidence in me as a mother, a wife, an educator, and most your child.  But by the grace of God go I...and I know that the only thing that separates me from the masses of those less fortunate is God's grace.

I love you all.  I am blessed to share this journey with all of friends.  Have a blessed and joyous Christmas.


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