I started to think about how I might celebrate Christmas differently if this were to be my last.
Contemplating one’s own mortality isn’t the kind of thing that encourages holiday cheer, but it is a wonderful way to gauge whether one is properly keeping Christmas.
Admittedly, Christmas is a uniquely Christian event. While I value and love many very good people of many faiths around the globe as employees, contractors, clients and friends of The MBMI Companies, I recognize that my thoughts may appeal only to those of similar religious persuasions as my own, but I hope that every reader will take in my message regardless of personal beliefs.
I’ve seen A Christmas Carol and I actually have read Charles Dicken’s tale of redemption from cover to cover a couple of times. With each annual visit to the cold, dark counting room of Marley & Scrooge, I applaud Ebenezer’s eventual personal transformation. His estranged nephew’s love for the miser and Scrooge’s newfound concern for Tiny Tim, make me want to become a better person. For a day or two. Then, I suppose, I go right back to counting my profits and asking the employees to justify an extra bucket of coal.
This year, though, I have come to the realization that the only thing that sticks with most people and cause them to change… I mean, REALLY change for the better…is to come face-to-face with the Grim Reaper. Were Tim McGraw to sing this carol, it would sound a lot like his hit, Live Like You Were Dying.
I believe that, faced with my own demise and knowing for sure that there would never be another morning of presents or stockings hung by the fire, the old Bing Crosby songs would sound sweeter. The old, beaten ornaments of my grandmother’s would look shiny and sparkly once again, and my time with family would take on a new meaning. Ski passes would seem less important than the time together in the lodge. The entire gathering would be of greater warmth and caring. I’d actually think about what gift to choose for the in-laws. In other words, I’d try to right the wrongs of the past, leave pleasant memories for the future, and reconcile myself to the concept that soon I might meet that child born in a Bethlehem manger, just as the Three Wisemen did some two thousand years ago.
I would look forward to once more hugging those who made the Christmas memories of my youth; those people close to me who departed this life all too soon. That alone is the sweet that offsets the bitter.
Most of all, were this to be my last Christmas, I would recall to everyone that we celebrate that long ago birth as the single chance for life without an end. That is the hope to which those celebrating their last Christmases cling.
For those of us for whom this Christmas is just another rush of bicycle assembly, wrapping and trimming of trees, I urge you to take a moment for silent introspection. Give thanks for the mystery and gift that the virgin birth represents and the opportunity it provides for you during this Christmas and all those Christmases we are allowed to spend together. There are no greater gifts to give and receive this season, than time with, and love for, one another.
From our MBMI family to yours, Merry Christmas.