Friday Dec 12 2008
Through Irish Eyes: Without Christ there would be no Christmas
By: Helen Bale
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas everywhere I go; the storefronts glisten — or is it glitter? — with the promise of things to come (from Mom or Dad of course). Today’s kids of all ages don’t care about the source. Or even about the bills that will flood the mail in January. And what is most important this Christmas season, to you and to your children even to neighbors? I asked my caregiver Jamie Anderson for her input. And here is what she said: “This Christmas will be more meaningful to me than any other I have had. When Helen posed the question ‘What is more important at Christmas time, Santa Claus or the nativity scene and what they represent?’ It was an easier answer than I thought. “Santa has always been the bearer of wonderful gifts and happiness for many years, but for me this year I have a great appreciation for the birth of Christ. “I was not raised with religion. I have just begun to know a great spirituality within myself. The gift of faith is something that I treasure today. That is something that Santa Claus could not give. “Since I have discovered that there truly is something bigger than all of us out there to take away fears, anxiety and worry, my life has become so much better and less complicated. “Santa is wonderful in his own right, but when it comes down to it we wouldn’t be here without our God. “The most meaningful gift we can give ourselves is spiritual well-being, that enables us to give the very best of ourselves to our loved ones and sometimes even strangers on the street. “I think this Christmas I will thank my higher power for giving me the strength and courage I needed this year, and for helping me to appreciate the little things as much as the big ones. “My prayers are always answered, maybe not in the way I want but nonetheless they are answered. I must remember to be thankful for the good and the bad, because ultimately they are all life lessons. “I will still leave some cookies and milk out for Santa. It doesn’t hurt when you haven’t been as good as you should have all year. “Merry Christmas!” I couldn’t have said it better myself. I next turned to Sally Ellsworth, whose husband’s ancestry traces through his paternal grandmother to the resort town of Bray, Ireland, a resort town south of Dublin. Sally, who lives in Applegate, comes to me as a volunteer with hospice and happily shares my views on the Christmas season. Mine are expressed through a fireplace insert display that I can see easily from my hospital bed. We have featured a lovely nativity scene above Santa Claus along with a Christmas tree brilliantly lit with miniature lights. To me it represents the reign of the birth of Christ as the prevailing reason for Christmas in the first place. The tree stands as a representative of the gifts we offer. There would be no Christmas season without the birth of Christ, which was the original reason for God’s gift to us all. I am honored to share this beautiful Christmas day, my 88th birthday, with the birth if Christ. May the peace and good will promised by this gift from God prevail through the ages, for all mankind.