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Fill Your Heart With Christmas



Karen A. Lech

It is nearly Christmas Day, December 9, 2005, to be precise. That leaves us sixteen days until 'THE DAY". I don't know about your family or your life situation, but at my house, spirits are high for my twin daughters. School gets out soon for a nice stretch, and visions of video games dance in their heads.

Unfortunately, this Christmas, they may not be able to swallow very well the delicacies of the season. On December 22nd, they are scheduled for tonsillectomies and adenoidectomies. Why would a nice mother like me do a thing like that? Well, they need to be off school for at least a ten day period and as they have so many throat problems, it is best to not wait any longer to get this matter rectified. Schedules of school holidays, my work schedule and doctor's schedule necessitate this selected time for the surgery. So.....

How to celebrate? Well, I am working on creating Gingerbread pudding, pureed turkey, and very soft mashed potatoes with gravy. Hopefully, the weekend before Christmas we can bake Christmas cookies. And as they lie abed, I want to talk to them about how fortunate they are.

Which brings me to the subject here...Filling your heart with Christmas.

It really won't be hard for these two fourteen year old girls to have a happy holiday. Most important is that they are cared for with patience and love. Their oldest brother and his wife is coming in from New York. There will be laughter, teasing, visiting. They have a roof over their heads, warm beds to sleep and recuperate in, gifts to open, and all the love I can give them. They also have good health.

Thinking about making this a Merry Christmas for all, in spite of stereo tonsillectomies, as my mother, sister and her husband, and my daughter-in-law's mother are coming over, I reflect on Christmases past. I stroll down memory lane, to remember what made Christmas so special for me as a child. What can I do to give as a gift, a good memory of this Christmas, meeting the needs of each one, giving happiness, and love, to all I can? For these guests to my home have special needs too. My mother had a heart attack in October and her health is failing. My brother in law lost his mother this year. My daughter-in-law and her mom and dad still mourning the death of her 19 year old brother two years ago.

How hard is it for a person to fill their heart with Christmas?

My little aunt is in a nursing home. She has bladder cancer. I visit her and see her sitting in her wheelchair in line with other residents. One young man is horribly crippled, yet he can smile and give me a thumbs up when I stop to say hi. There is a 40ish woman with a face so disfigured I did not realize at first it was a woman, she, too, sits horribly crippled and maimed in the line up near the nurses' station.

I walk in and see my aunt sitting there, sometimes reading, sometimes staring off in some reverie. Her glasses are on, hair combed neatly, dressed in regular clothes. She once weighed nearly 200 pounds. She is about 106 pounds now, the transitional cell bladder cancer having grown out of the bladder, extending its menacing tentacles to who knows where. Arthritis and weakness have sentenced her to a wheelchair for most of the time as her means of transport. Her mind is very alert and she looks up She misses walking, her home, her independence, her ability to drive. She misses going out Christmas shopping. She misses going to the bathroom by herself. She misses her privacy. She is surrounded by unfamiliar people who care for her needs, the needs she finds are very embarrassing.

My aunt never married. She lived with her mom and dad and still kept residence in their house after my grandparents died, until she became very sick. She has been like a second mom to myself and my brother and sister for all of our lives, welcoming us and spoiling us, loving us. I still sit like a child and listen to her magical way of telling stories of her childhood and what made it so special. Funny incidents, what scared her as a child, her memories of happy times.

How can she fill her heart with Christmas? She is just one of hundreds of thousands.

How can I help?

I get off the train downtown in Chicago and see the man with no legs on the frozen sidewalk. A can is in front of him with some change. I watch the passersby.... some without even looking down, much less into his eyes, semi secretly drop a few coins into his can or near it. I stop and look at his face and smile. "Hello, Sir," I say. "Are you warm enough?" I notice newspaper stuffed in his raggedy jacket. I hand him the fresh paper cup of Starbuck's I just purchased near the station. He looks at me like I am crazy. I squat down and ask him......... "How are you going to celebrate this Christmas?" "Wha the f****" is his answer.

How can he fill his heart with Christmas?

I smile, pull out a five-dollar bill (being a single mother of five has ME nearly destitute) and place it in his hand. "Sir," I say, "I hope you have Christmas in your heart in someway this year. I'll be praying for you." I give him a Christmas cookie. He shakes his head, I am occupying his time, his space, and perhaps blocking other pedestrians from throwing him some change. Wouldn't it be a wonderful end to this little scenario to say that I took the man home, fed him clothed him and got him a job? Alas, I can only share a little love with another human being in the form of a smile, a cookie, a cup of coffee.

I put love in each Christmas cookie I bake, as it is made with the thought of the smile it will get from someone, the pleasure of a unique and memorable taste. I put love in each bow that goes on a gift I wrap, for under that bow is a box that may contain something the receiver will take joy in. I put love in each place setting of the dinner table. "For I was hungry and you gave Me to eat." Why not make it pretty, too?

Christmas... the season of Love. The most incredible act of love was given to all mankind over 2,000 years ago in the form of an infant who would grow to save us from our sin, be our friend, and through His love, let us have eternal life with our Creator. Life is a wonderful gift, eternal life is an incredible one, mind boggling.

I have learned that each minute makes a memory, and that I stand on holy ground when I stand next to you. Were I to smile at you and let you on the bus ahead of me, at some street corner some day, I would be honored to be near you, for at all times, we are a breath away from being in the presence of God. We are all one instant away from the next... and the next minute is unknown.

That sounds strange to think about at Christmas, doesn't it?

Christmas is not all about cookies, decorations, gifts, how many lights on a tree, how much you spend, how gaily wrapped are your gifts. Christmas is about one gift in particular, the give of LOVE sent in human so complete, so encompassing, so miraculous. You will never find love like that anywhere. And that should fill your heart with Christmas.

Thanks for reading these thoughts I wanted to share... with my love Karen A. Lech

About the author:
Well, here I am, an author from Richmond, Illinois. A chatterbox.. always have a lot to say! My first book just came out in August, 51 POEMS FOR CHILDREN Available on and Barnes and (if you have any children to shop for this Christmas!) Single mom of five.. Grew up in Chicago, Illinois.

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