Joy through the eyes of a child make the season bright

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Because of the spirit of the holiday, Christmas is a wonderful time in my family. Like many years past, this has been a difficult year in many ways, but we still have much to celebrate. And that is what I love most about the Christmas season. I realize that not everyone celebrates this holiday, yet there truly seems to be a change in the way that people react to life during the holidays. Local charities are busy as bees getting last minute preparations for the delivery of food and toys for families less fortunate.

Because of the spirit of the holiday, Christmas is a wonderful time in my family. Like many years past, this has been a difficult year in many ways, but we still have much to celebrate. And that is what I love most about the Christmas season. I realize that not everyone celebrates this holiday, yet there truly seems to be a change in the way that people react to life during the holidays. Local charities are busy as bees getting last minute preparations for the delivery of food and toys for families less fortunate. Despite the commercialism that seems to overburden the spirit of the holiday, it is now dismissed and the time is now here to celebrate. I find most of my joy comes through the innocence of children. Their excitement and wonder fill me with more anticipation and joy than anything else.

My grandchildren living with me stayed the weekend at Grandma’s house. Before they left, we got the Christmas tree up, they helped put on the lights and put up a few ornaments. But by the time they came home last night, the entire tree was completely decorated along with much of the house. The excitement in their eyes is worth more than any earthly thing. My granddaughter wanted to sleep under the tree and my youngest grandson wanted to play with every ornament on the tree. Our tree is full of family history, from our babies’ first pacifiers, homemade ornaments the kids have made through the years and precious gifts and old toys from loved ones present and no longer with us.

We are all happy to be all be together this year, especially with my daughter just moving to Texas. But she will be home and cousins will be reunited. With all of my family present this year, I could ask for nothing more. Their laughter and awe is infectious and in many ways brings back the child in me, looking at the holiday through their eyes.

But we should never forget those that are hurting and in need this year and our neighbors here in East County that are working diligently with pure intentions to help these people have the merriest holiday possible. As I watched the holiday light show at the Balazs’ home this week, it was wonderful to see all the children in line to see the Grinch and as they waited dancing to the musical light show. As I was standing taking photos of Santa virtually saying hello to all the children through the open center window, she looked up at me and said, “Man, Santa is everywhere, I’ve seen him four times today.” Without pause I looked at her and said that Santa has to be fast or he wouldn’t be able to travel the world in one night to deliver toys to all of the children. Her mother quickly chimed in that Santa had a lot of help from his trusty reindeer. Her eyes lit up as bright as the flashing lightshow around us, and she was content that her beliefs were validated by our words. That one little girl pushed my Christmas spirit up a couple of notches, just like the Grinch’s heart grew with the true spirit of the season.

It is my hope that everyone will feel the joy of a child they once were during this week of celebration and then take it a step further and spread that joy. It has been a tumultuous year, but now is time to not burden yourself with what is wrong in the world, but what is right with your world. Problems will come and go, but with a little spread of Christmas cheer, we can make a difference to those that are suffering this holiday. They might be homeless, lost a loved one, tight on money or have no money at all. There are many reasons that the holidays are not so cheery for many in our communities. So reach out if you know someone who will be alone this holiday or have much more serious matters in life to deal with than stuffing a Christmas stocking. Thankfully, there are many people in our communities working right now to do that, many right through the holiday. They are of pure heart and carry the real meaning of Christmas through their actions. Although my family celebrates Christmas, it does not take religious faith to take time to be kind to one another and be there for someone in need. From all of us here, have a joyous holiday. If you need some help in getting into the spirit, take a look at the holiday through the eyes of a child. Even though being young and thrilled at the prospect of what is going to be under the Christmas tree, even the young ones sense that there is more to the holiday than just getting presents. Share that innocence with them and pass it on.