December 22, 2010 Edition

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Christmas can bring contentment

Vivian Heyl
Staff Writer

I love everything about Christmas: the sights, the sounds, the smells and the feeling it brings. This year, thanks to my grandchildren, I have had the opportunity to once again view Christmas through the eyes of a child.

My youngest is just seven months old and my oldest is nine. Watching the wonder in their eyes as they gaze at the Christmas lights makes me think about what it must have been like for those of long ago who were dazzled by a star.

I cannot fathom the magnitude of the events all those thousands of years ago, but I can appreciate that the birth of a child makes us believe in miracles.

The sight of my grandchildren's faces illuminated in the light from the Christmas tree brings a sense of contentment to me that I have no real words to express.

Christmas in our family starts the first day of December and we celebrate right through to Epiphany. We count down each day of advent and then we celebrate the 12 days of Christmas, as well. Why? Because the feelings that Christmas brings are something we want to hang onto as long as we can.

We follow the same traditions year after year. Cookie making, St Nicholas stockings, advent calendars and family dinners are all part of the experience. We love the excitement and anticipation of what the big day will bring and the wait becomes almost unbearable for the little ones.

I know what most of you are thinking. That's all well and good but what about presents, all that money spent on stuff nobody really wants, the stress, the anxiety, what about that?

A huge fan of "Toy Story," my three-year-old grandson is very sure what he wants for Christmas. When asked by anyone what he wants he is quite succinct in his answer and it is always the same. He wants Jessie.

When I ask him if there isn't something else he wants he says, "no."

Recently I told him he needed to have some other requests but he politely refused. Then I asked him if he didn't have any other requests, did he want everyone to give him Jessie, and he laughed uproariously at me and said, "That's just silly Grandma."

"I want a Jessie, that's all," he said and the conversation was over.

It would be grand if all of us knew with such certainty what that one thing is that would make us happy.

For most of us what makes us happy is not as tangible as a toy. We often covet things, but they rarely bring us real happiness and contentment. With Christmas just days away anxiety levels are high. Even those who are completely prepared for the holiday are having twinges of doubt.

What do you want for Christmas?

I hope Christmas brings you that one thing, which will make you happy and you can say that's all I wanted and I am content.

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