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Why Christmas touches the heart

“Christmas makes me feel emotional.”

So go the lyrics to one of the most iconic Christmas songs – Silver Bells.

And it’s true, there’s no other celebration or time of the year that can move me from tears to laughter within minutes of each other. For me, it is a joyful and sad time, all wrapped up in one bundle of feelings.

*One of my earliest Christmases with my beautiful mother.

As I bake the special goodies and prepare for Christmas Eve supper, I am reminded of my own mother and grandmother who did the same in years past. I can picture them working away in the kitchen, carefully measuring, mixing, and preparing those wonderful Christmas treats and delicacies.

I have upheld the tradition by serving most of the same dishes, with a few new twists. But as I pinch the fruit perogies or prepare the cabbage rolls with my wonderful aunt, I can’t help but feel that something is missing. No, it’s not a culinary ingredient, it’s the people. And if I happen to be listening to a particularly wistful carol, unexpected tears often well up and sometimes spill over. That’s because my Christmas memories as a child and young person, are so closely tied to those two women.

When my own children were just youngsters, we packed up the car and headed a short drive to my mom and dad’s where we enjoyed a beautiful meal, opened presents, and had the children hang their stockings on the closet door handles because my parents didn’t have a fireplace. Somehow it didn't matter and Santa always knew where to find them and filled those stockings with many goodies. And while I am thrilled to see the fine adults that my children have grown up to become, I miss those days as well.

But before you start thinking that I’m just a gloomy pessimist living in the past, let me assure you that the sad moments are fleeting. There is just too much joy at Christmas time for nostalgia to take root. Watching my own granddaughters delight in the excitement of the season always brightens the mood. Their joy is infectious! One can’t remain focussed on the past when they are around.

The fellowship with friends and the arrival of family are highly anticipated. I love decorating the house and preparing for all the excitement when our home is once again filled with the people I love most. The laughter, the playing of games, the noise – I love it all! (Yes, and even the mess.)

To sit around the Christmas table, to count our blessings, and to see the faces filled with excitement and happiness, truly fills my heart with a joy that is difficult to describe. Maybe the fact that Christmas holds so many precious memories accounts for its emotional impact. And the occasional sad feelings that I experience speak to the wonderful Christmases that I have been fortunate to enjoy over many years.

It is a time for sharing, a time for reflection, a time for enjoying the moment, and, most importantly, a time to rejoice in the birth of a baby many years ago in a humble stable.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

May your days be merry and bright, filled with wondrous delights, spiritual observances, and even a bit of nostalgia.