Ghosts of Christmas Past

The holidays are just about wrapped for the year and as 2013 looms on the horizon, I can honestly say I’ve never been more excited about the future than I am now.

I have found a job that I really enjoy, and I’m striving to make myself better at it with every spare moment. My children are healthy and smart -even though that has become more an obstacle than an advantage for the youngest since he’s been enrolled in kindergarten. There are so many things I’d like to do for them, to make their lives better, but for the time being I must abide and strategize both professionally and domestically.

Last night we carefully crammed all the ornaments, decorations and finally the two fake trees we put up in the dining room and living room back into their boxes. As my husband passed the boxes and bins up the attic ladder to me, I found myself almost nostalgic for the season that was ending. Then I remembered some figurines that had been floating around the house since before Christmas that needed to get put away, and asked him to send those up too.

SnowAngelThis little angel with gold-tipped wings and a fluffy lamb in her arms has always been a cornerstone of my childhood memories. I’m not sure why I got so attached to it as a little girl, but flipping her cheap metal switch so that the music box inside would start the tinkling melody of silent night -well, it was like flipping the switch in a time machine that turned me back about 20 years.

As I carefully pack her away each year I am reminded that I’m no longer a child, and that even the saddest stretches of time in a human life can be peppered with pleasant anchors to the past. Whatever else happened when I was young, this little statuette has always represented (for me) the strong protecting the weak, even though they may not realize how strong they are. It is the embodiment of a young life that often felt like solitary confinement, but gave me the ability to turn inward for strength and inspiration. It gives me hope.

Even though our family celebrates Yule at home and Christmas with family these days, this little tchotchke remains one of my favorite holiday decorations. Whenever I see her I think not only of myself as a little kid, but of all the children in the world who don’t get the security or the nurturing that all little children deserve. I wish I could hold them all, like she’s holding that little lamb, and reassure them that it will get better someday -and that there is love to be found in this world, whether or not you’re able to recognize it when you need it most.

Maybe if we could all give a little bit more compassion to those who need it, we’d have fewer broken people in this country.

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