My family often stretches out the holiday to make the merriment last. Many times in my teenage years, the Christmas celebration with my mom’s side of the family was not until the first week in January.
So here in the weekend squished in between Christmas and New Year’s I feel torn between which one to focus on — Ribbon and bows, paper and presents left from Wednesday’s great celebration, or goals and joys of a new day to come.
I admit I have never been one for New Year’s resolutions. I find goal-setting much easier on warm, sunny days.
But any day is good for wishing and dreaming.
Many a Christmas story and film have recounted the saga of Christmas dreams dashed when “the Jolly Old Elf” didn’t bring the coveted item.
These disappointments were never mine since I always knew Santa Claus was a fictional character. (However, I do love the story of the real St. Nicholas who was the inspiration for the tales.)
My mom still asks for a short Christmas list each year.
Since the first time I heard it, I have always enjoyed the song, “My Grown-up Christmas list.”
In many, ways I can relate.
“No more lives torn apart.”
I have wished for this many times for friends and acquaintances, for children in unspeakable situations, for those who have suffered only because of others’ actions.
“That wars would never start, And time would heal all hearts, And everyone would have a friend. That every child would have someone who loves them, that families would stay whole.”
I wish that “right would always win.” I wish for no more slavery, for freedom for the trapped whether by addiction or by physical chains.
I wish that “love would never end.”
I can be a friend. We can be listening ears to those with wounded hearts.
“That love would never end.”
This is what Christmas is all about ... that love doesn’t have to end. That the Creator of the Universe, God Himself, loved the human race so much to send his son to be born, live a sinless life and die on a cross, so that we could know the Father. A father whose love never ends. A Father who fixes torn lives, brings peace to inner war, heals hearts and is a friend to all.
In the end, those who put their lives in His hands will always win.
No more broken hearts, no more families torn apart, no more unloved children, no more slavery and no more child abuse. No more guns and fights. No more addictions to life-ending and shortening substances. No more anxiety and fear over the economy.
“This is my only lifelong wish. This is my grown-up Christmas list.”
This is my prayer not just at Christmas or New year’s as I look for a better year, but throughout the year as I am reminded that I can be a part of making some part of this list happen for someone.
Many times when I look at things I want I immediately think of what I can do to make it happen.
As a student who wanted good grades, I studied.
As a reporter who wants to excel … I make a lot of phone calls.
We all have a wish, ours or someone else’s, that we can make come true.
Sometimes dreams, wishes just seem so impossible. So vast, so unsolvable are some injustices in this broken world that it seems that darkness will always win.
Yet, hope is strong. To borrow from another Christmas Song, “I heard the Bells on Christmas Day”: "... God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; The Wrong shall fall, The Right prevail, With peace on earth, good-will to men."
There are many who have dedicated their lives to helping those with broken hearts, broken lives, failed families and checkered pasts. These people, unlike the fictional Santa to whom “My Grown-up Christmas List” is sung, can make the wishes of the song come true,.
Cleveland is full of people doing this every day — teams of people showing God’s love as elves or angels for His “Christmas list.”