With the media attention on so much that is not right, negative and downright bad, I thought I would help put some things in perspective through an unlikely story, which only if you are human will make you smile. Here is the story:
I was at a friend's house for a Christmas lunch and noticed a beautiful nativity on her bureau in the living room. I looked at its glory and splendor and the gold outline and asked my friend, "If I may, where did you get this?"
"Marcs," she said.
Now, for those of you who don't live in NE Ohio...Marcs is the equivalent of a deeply discounted grocery store that has an additional 10 or 20 aisles of random stuff that no one actually needs, but when you are there you believe you need all of it.
"Marcs?" I said.
"Yes." she confirmed.
With that, I left and headed straight to Marcs. When I arrived I went right to the random stuff aisles. I looked for the nativity set but it was nowhere to be found -- certainly snatched up by other lucky shoppers.
What I did see, however, was an aisle full of life-sized stuffed animals. Yes, I said it, life-sized stuff animals. As pictured above...
I looked at those animals and wanted every single one of them. Then, I thought, who would buy those? What's wrong with me?
I wanted to put them all around my living room but thought I might be viewed as the equivalent of "cat lady" or hoarder. I discounted my longings and left feeling remorse for not buying one or all of them.
A few days later, I spoke with a girlfriend, and she said, "Have you been to Marcs lately?" Since I never go to Marcs, I looked around to see if there were cameras. "Yes," I said. She asked, "Did you see those life-sized stuffed animals?" I smiled. "Yes, I did." She said, "Didn't you just want one?" I said, loudly "Yes!!!!!!!" Ahh, I was encouraged, I am not alone.
Now, you may not be fully grasping this story of hope yet, however, when I went back to Marcs a day later, every single one of those animals was gone.
The next week, randomly and synchronously, yet another friend said to me, "I was at a friend's house this week who had these life-sized stuffed animals, and I want one."
Dear ones....where is the Christmas story in all of this? Where is the encouragement? Here it is:
I love that I live in a world that values fun and whimsy and life-sized stuffed animals. I am thrilled that I live in a world that rushes out to buy other people presents and gift them with fun things. I live in a world where at the Cleveland Orchestra Holiday Concert this year, the adults were leaning forward as eagerly as the children to see Santa come down the aisle. I loved that moment when -- adults -- men and women stood up from their box, dress circle and balcony seats, straining to see Santa below. It makes me cry when I remember it right now.
You see the innocence of our inner child lives on in this world. It truly does.
It turns out, we still believe.
No, the Christmas miracle does not lie in a Marc's aisle but in a manger. Yet, there too, the message is in the glory, innocence and hope of the child.
Yup...one of my 2016 mottos will be "Choose your focus."
Cuz I see this awesome world full of the most creative and special souls, and you are most certainly among them. During this holiday season, may you shine your inner child, innocence, creativity, fun and whimsy everywhere you go. May your light shine more brightly than ever before. May we hold tenderly, the suffering in our lives and in others and offer our service and our heartfelt prayers. May you choose conversations and activities that focus on the beauty, the wonder, the good, and all that is right and Spirit-filled. May you still believe.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year my friends...you are very dear to me.
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(Written by Jane Hart, copyright 2015)