This year, as we watch the world around us collapsing, we are learning that Christmas is not about money. Christmas is about loving each other, about gifts that have nothing to do with the green folding stuff, or even silver and gold.
Our money is melting down into worthless goo. Stores are closing; cameras are going up at intersections across the country. This morning I received a call from a friend in Florida who argued for twenty minutes at her bank where she has done business for twenty years. The problem? They wanted to photograph her eyes biometrically. She refused, but not many are as determined as she.
The things that really matter will endure. Gifts like compassion, empathy, humor, familial love and friendship, last a life time and cannot be devalued. This Christmas we need to hold on to those things.
Christmas is being family. It is coming together to create communities. It is being conscious of how our actions and lives touch through time.
For months, years, I have been writing about what was going to happen to our nation and to the people we love. Last year I predicted the end of the world as we know it. Every week I have hammered on the same subject and on what needs to be done so that we can change direction. I have been writing and thinking about the problems for what seems like a life time. What I write is generally politics, but this time I want you to see why I know that change is possible. I know what it is like to feel helpless and lost.
Christmas is loving each other as we are loved by One Who Loves Absolutely.
When you find the strength of love anything is possible. This past week I took a story I had originally written for my children and rewrote it for you. Is a story about a time when I was lost and desperate. Instead of giving up I found the Christmas that glows through the hard times, endures through hardships and seemingly insurmountable problems.
The Star for Christmas was my response to circumstances beyond my control in 1979. There is always strength to sustain us, if we reach beyond ourselves to That One Who Loves Absolutely. Today, we are all reaching. When we extend ourselves we grow spiritually, finding things more wonderful than we could possibly have imagined as long as we do not give up. One of the things we will find is each other.
In 1979 I experienced a time of terrible anguish but I still had small children who needed me, needed to feel the wonder of Christmas. I reached into my own past and found strength from the memories of someone who had taught me the importance of courage, of holding on to my dreams and wishes.
The Star for Christmas custom began that year, drawn from the memories of wishes I had shared with James Dean. In 2001 I began writing the book explaining the custom to my children soon after Thanksgiving Day. Ayn, my youngest daughter, had asked me a question as we sat around the table after dinner. It had been a perfect holiday filled with happy memories revisited and cooperative efforts over turkey and stuffing.
The year was sliding towards the upcoming holidays. We were remembering Christmas' past.
Ayn asked me one of those questions that you never anticipate being asked. That question lead to many insights and eventually to their book and then to this one. The question Ayn asked was about the star in which our family had traditionally placed our wishes for the year to come on Christmas Eve. “When and where did this custom begin?” Ayn asked. She assumed it to be an old New England custom. Although I told her this was not the case it occurred to me that I had not actually explained the custom's origin to my children. I did not share my pain of 1979 with them, feeling it would be inappropriate.
I promised to write the Star’s history for them.
Later, as I sat down to write, I revisited my thoughts that year the custom began. Seeking the Star’s origin became a quest into the dusty reaches of my mind and heart, then, via paper trails, to memories of people long gone. I had never revisited those events, simply sealing them off and moving on. Through this journey I found not just the Star but many more unasked questions. I also found answers to questions that I didn’t know needed asking.
My wishes of 1979 had been answered in ways I did not expect when I considered them. I had never understood the power of hope and the strength of my dreams until then. We need to look at the world, ourselves, and realize what really matters.
Our dreams and wishes can be transformational.
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