Look and listen, Christmas is here

Published 10:47 am Wednesday, December 22, 2004

By Staff
She was, of course, referring to life after The Storm. And she is no different from many of us this year. But I contend Christmas is really here if we open our eyes, ears and hearts.
A couple of nights later, the Brewton City Schools Choral Program presented a contemporary version of "A Christmas Carol" and holiday selections. Photographs from this event are included in today's edition (See Page 6B). As pretty as the pictures of the young people are, they pale in comparison to the beauty of their voices. In the darkness of the high school auditorium, the melodious sounds of classic and contemporary Christmas music made it easy forget that some of our traditions are missing this year. If Christmas is joy, you could hear it that night.
If Christmas is love, it abounds. I need only open a drawer to acknowledge it.
After Ivan, when our house still had holes in it and we had no electricity, my mother hauled tons of damp clothes and linens home with her. She returned a week later with clean, sweet-smelling things, carefully folded and packed in huge zip-lock bags. Most of them have remained packed away as we, like many others, have lived a minimalist lifestyle these weeks and months, using only what was absolutely necessary.
When I open the chest where the things are stored, they still smell fresh and sweet, and I am reminded that the things don't really matter, but that my family and friends are still here, and they love us enough to do such nice things, does. What more could one ask for at Christmas?
But things sometimes make love more evident, and thanks to the generosity of many, more than 600 children this year have physical evidence that someone cares about them. These are the children who received "Christmas" this year through the Christmas Project. Stop and think about that. Imagine coordinating and wrapping 600 gifts, much less multiple gifts for 600 people! Add to that the gifts provided for the elderly through this same project, and the results are massive. Indeed, love and generosity abound, and we are fortunate to live in the midst of it.
Instead of looking for the things that are missing this holiday, try to see the things that remain. Christmas is here, if only we acknowledge it.
Finally, Christmas is hope. Here's hoping yours is merry and your New Year is the brightest ever.
Michele Gerlach is the publisher of The Brewton Standard. She can be reached at michele.gerlach@brewtonstandard.com or 251.867.4876.