The spirit of the season
True meaning of holiday spirit
Christmas is a wonderful time and it is the holiest day for us as we celebrate the birth of Jesus who was born to Mary and Joseph in a manger in Bethlehem and it is Jesus who we worship as the son of God who gave his life for us to share in his love and faith. We honor his birth every year as we pay tribute to that special day and we are thankful and live in his honor. Our lives revolve or should revolve around our love and devotion to him and to be the best we can be and we try to live our lives as caring, loving individuals like he did. Jesus gives us hope and faith that lasts a lifetime and we who live with Jesus in our lives will always walk with love and hope and will be guided by him every day.
From the day I was a little boy I always enjoyed the holiday spirit of the Christmas season and can remember back as early as a 5 year old with my first encounter with Santa and the joys of being a child raised in a loving home by mom and dad who always saw to it that my sisters and I were always taken care of. Childhood is a wonderful time in our life as we have an innocence and a belief in all that is good. Our world is shaped in our childhood and our personality and how we will live the rest of our life is formed as young children. We are very impressionable and we learn very early from our parents and caretakers and through our surroundings. I remember as a small boy my parents would always make sure we had fun and festive celebrations and family gatherings at Christmastime. My mom would ask us to write our annual letter to Santa asking him to bring us a present we were hoping for and our Dad would put up the family Christmas tree for all of us to decorate. We would help mom put all the beautiful holiday ornaments on the tree and Dad would place the lights around making sure every section of the tree had been covered and that all the lights worked. It was a very fun part of my childhood and one that I can remember all these years since. I often wonder how the time went by in such a flash.
I always enjoyed visiting both my mom and dad's parents during the Christmas holiday and seeing all our cousins, aunts and uncles and sharing in the joys of the holiday and gathering for festive dinners that were always delicious and so memorable. I remember my father's mom would be in the kitchen cooking all day making home made ravioli, lasagna, meatballs and a homemade sauce that was incredible. As we gathered at the table to eat our Christmas dinner with all or most of our family relatives we would be grateful for the company and for grandma's special meal made with love. After we ate we would gather at the family Christmas tree and exchange presents that Santa had delivered the night before. It was the best part of my childhood. After we opened our presents and had some time to digest our festive meal Grandma would set the table for all the cakes and cannolis and we would once again find ourselves among our family enjoying our desert. What special times they were and then the next day after all that celebration we would visit my mom's parents and have another family celebration and exchange presents and gather for another wonderful holiday family dinner that was also delicious and enjoyable. My mother's mom would make a traditional Irish meal of ham, mashed potatoes, corned beef, cabbage and a delicious home made bread. I had such wonderful times back then visiting both my parents families who both lived in different sections of Brooklyn, New York.
It seems so wonderful living in that precious time as young children when everything is seemingly perfect and we have all our family present and with us. As time marches on we do experience life changing moments that are both happy and sad yet the calandar every year still makes provision for another Christmas celebration. The memories of the past Christmases stay with us but it is a sad reality when we start to lose those close to us that were a big part of our childhood and our earlier Christmas celebrations. As we grow and become young adults we still enjoy the Christmas season but it is now different and though we hold on to the same values we had as children we are changed in some ways and our innocence is lost as we are hardened by life's experiences.
As we become parents we want to provide our children with the same joys and celebrations of the Christmas season that we had and we want to make their Christmases special and memorable too. I remember when our son was born in December of 1998 our first Christmas together as a family which was very special and meant so much to me and my wife. We took pictures by our family Christmas tree with our newborn son and it was pure joy. I felt like a kid again with the excitement I had and the abundance of joy in my heart for having my wife and son in my life. As we celebrate another year gone by and another Christmas we always wish to find that childhood innocence we once had and wish to have our children hold on to it for as long as possible for that is the beauty of Christmas. To me Christmas is all about family and sharing in the joy and the celebration of Christ's birth and gathering and spending time together as a family and with the ones we love. Christmas is about being kind and considerate to others and being grateful and opening our hearts to others as we celebrate the birth of Jesus.
Another part of Christmas that I always enjoyed was the excitement leading up to it, the Christmas music on the radio, the Christmas card in the mail, the tv specials watching Frosty the snowman, A Peanut's Christmas, Santa Clause is coming to town and seeing all the beautifully lit decorative trees and displays. I enjoyed the counting of the days down to Christmas and the stories told of Santa Claus and his reindeer. I remember my mom and dad would always have us leave a tray of cookies out for Santa with a glass of milk and egg nog. We would also leave water for the reindeer and we were so excited we could hardly sleep as we anticipated his visit expecting to be surprised as we awoke on Christmas day. I take great joy in seeing my son's eyes light up as he peeks under the Christmas tree as he delights in seeing the presents left for him by Santa. Christmas is always a wonderful day and it is even more wonderful if we have snow that covers the streets and sidewalks.
A part of Christmas that is the most important and the true meaning of goodwill to all is that we don't forget the needy and the sick. They deserve to have a Christmas too and we should always see to it that we remember them at this time of year and find it in our heart to share in giving whether it is in providing presents in the toys for tots campaign, picking an angel from the giving tree in exchange for a Christmas present, providing food at a shelter for a festive Christmas meal, Visiting sick children at the local hospital and sharing presents or making a donation of money to charities that provide for them at Christmastime. To me that is the real meaning of Christmas as we should help out those in need and restore hope in their lives.
I also enjoy sharing Christmas with my sisters and their families and we always enjoy exchanging presents and seeing the joys in our children's faces as they unwrap their presents. We always appreciate that part of Christmas as we get to live the joys of childhood once again through our children and our nieces and nephews.
So as we celebrate another year gone by and another Christmas I am so excited to share in the joys of celebrating with my wife and son and am looking forward to taking my son to see a Christmas concert, Trans Siberian Orchestra at the Nassau Coliseum and knowing that our son is looking forward to being visited by Santa once again. It is a wonderful time of the year and it seems to go by way too fast and I wish a Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night. As Tiny Tim once said from my all time favorite Christmas movie Scrooge based on Charles Dickens masterpiece, A Christmas Carol, "God Bless Us everyone."
Merry Christmas and Best wishes in the New Year!
Edward D. Iannielli III