Every December, I tried to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience.
I diligently cut back on nonessential obligations, like extensive card writing, putting up endless lines of lighting decorations, and even overspending.
Yet still, I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family moments, and of course, the true meaning of Christmas.
My grand son was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting season for a six year old.
For weeks, he'd been memorizing songs for his school's "Winter Pageant."
I didn't have the heart to tell him I'd be working the time of the presentation. I was really unwilling to miss his shining moment, so I spoke with his teacher. She assured me there would be a dress rehearsal the morning of the presentation.
All parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then.
Fortunately for me my grand son seemed happy with the compromise. So, the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in ten minutes early, found a seat in the school hall and sat down. Around the room, I saw several other parents quietly scampering to their seats.
As I waited, the students were led into the room. Each class, accompanied by their teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor in front of the audience in the seats. Then, each group, one by one, rose to perform their song.
Because the public school Politically Correct system had long since stopped referring to the holiday as "Christmas," I didn't expect anything other than fun, commercial entertainment songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes and good cheer.
So, when my grand son's class rose to sing, "Christmas Love," I was slightly taken aback by its bold title.
My grand son was beaming, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens, red sweaters, and bright snow caps upon their heads.
Those in the front row, center stage, held up large letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song.
As the class would sing "C is for Christmas," a child would hold up the letter C. Then, "H is for Happy," and on and on, until each child holding up his portion had presented the completed message,
Their performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her; a small, quiet, girl in the front row holding the letter "M" upside down, totally unaware her letter
"M" appeared as a "W".
The audience of the other kids snickered at this little one's mistake. But she had no idea they were laughing at her, so she stood tall, proudly holding her "W".
Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter continued until the last letter was raised, and we all saw it together.
A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen.
In that instant, we understood the reason we were there, why we celebrated the holiday in the first place, why even in the political chaos, there was a purpose for our festivities.
For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear:
"C H R I S T W A S L O V E"
HAVE A BLESSED CHRISTMAS SEASON!