When I was a child I remember my grandfather suffering chest pains. He kept putting nitroglycerin tablets under his tongue to help with the pain. My mother and I, along with Grandma and a couple of others, sat with Grandpa in the family dining room area. After his heart pain subsided he sighed, "I'll probably never live to see another Christmas." Looking back I remember that he did have one more Christmas.
After Grandpa and Mamaw died Christmases were never quite the same. During those special times together we thought they would never pass. It seemed that life and Christmas were frozen in time. To a child Christmas had always been this way and I could never imagine Christmas being any different.
We can never comprehend tomorrow. We hope and wish for tomorrow but we don't fully understand all the changes that tomorrow will bring. We hope for good jobs, paid off mortgages, graduation from school, retirement security and on and on. However as one Christmas after another rolls by so do the years and so does life's scenery and the people around us. Some people this year will spend their first Christmas in a nursing home. Some this year will spend their first Christmas without a parent or a spouse. Some will try to get through this season without them. Others will try to make it through the season unemployed or with a recent terminal health diagnosis.
My wife and I were talking tonight but how better it would be if her father and my parents and others that we loved were still alive. Christmas without them is different.
I don't know what you are going through today. Our nation is dealing with a lot. We have terrorism, financial struggles, and people experiencing lots of stress.
Many American families are hoping to just survive the Christmas season and make it to Jan. 1. Hopefully you and I will have one more Christmas. If we do, let's savor each moment. Whatever and whoever you have in your life please take the time to embrace them and love them. Next year could be very different.
Take the time to personally enjoy Christmas. I realize Christmas is about giving. We want to see our loved ones smile. However, in the days ahead recharge your battery a little. Read some Christmas stories. Watch some Christmas movies. Reflect on the message of peace and love delivered to the world in the Baby Jesus through a peasant couple in Bethlehem. Visit some people in the nursing home, the jail, or those who are aged and lonely. Also connect with some people through visits or just the telephone and say Merry Christmas. It will do them and you a lot of good.
May you have many more Christmases, but at least one more, and may it be one of your best ever.
Glenn Mollette is an syndicated columnist and author of 11 books and read in all 50 states. This column does not necessarily reflect the view of any organization, institution or this paper or media source.