Brent and I got into the Christmas spirit this weekend by watching Elf last night, and then we watched a special Christmas program tonight. We heard an amazing story about the spirit of Christmas.
It helped me to remember that Christmas doesn't always have to be complicated and stressful, full of worry about gifts that we can't afford and people we can't always please. It made me just think about once again, how grateful I am to simply be alive and about how much more important people are than possessions. Sometimes when you lose a friendship, trying to gain the world, the world rejects you and that person may be gone forever. So I guess if I had to dedicate this post to someone, it would be to all the people out there who have taught me to take it slow, to sit back and relax and enjoy the journey.
I just want to post the story here, for anyone who may be interested in reading it. It is truly amazing and speaks measures of the true spirit of Christmas. I will just copy and paste his words, because my "retelling" would never truly do it justice, it is taken from a story or a book, I'm not sure written by Ray Jensen called "Drama at Gate 67"
"The Christmases we remember best generally have little to do with worldly goods, but a lot to do with families, with love and with compassion and caring...This thought provides hope for those of us who fear that the simple meaning of the holiday is diluted by commercialism, or by opposition from those with differing religious views, or just by getting so caught up in the pressures of the season that we lose that special spirit we could otherwise experience.For many people, 'overdoing it' is especially common at this time of the year. We take on too much for the time and energy we have. Perhaps we don't have enough money to spend for those things we feel we must purchase. Often our efforts at Christmastime result in feeling stressed out, wrung out and worn out during a time when instead we should feel the simple joys of commemorating the birth of the Babe in Bethlehem."
The story is as follows... "An incident that occurred in December 1970, when an ice storm caused thousands of travelers to become stranded in the airport in Atlanta, Ga., as flights were delayed for many hours, lessening the chances for them to get wherever they most wanted to be for Christmas -- 'most likely home.'
The midnight hour had tolled and passengers clustered around the ticket counters, conferring with ticket agents.When an occasional plane managed to break out, more travelers stayed behind than made it aboard. The words 'standby,' 'reservation confirmed,' and 'first class passenger' settled priorities and bespoke money, power, influence, foresight – or lack thereof. Gate 67 in Atlanta was a microcosm of the whole cavernous airport. Except for a few passengers traveling in pairs, there was little conversation. A salesman stared into space, a young mother cradled an infant in her arms and a man in a finely tailored gray flannel suit seemed impervious to the collective suffering. A person observing this busy man might have identified him as an Ebenezer Scrooge.
Suddenly the relative silence was broken by a commotion. A young man in military uniform, no more than 19 years old, was in animated conversation with the desk agent. The boy held a low-priority ticket. He pleaded with the agent to help him get to New Orleans so that he could take the bus to the obscure Louisiana village he called home. The agent wearily told him the prospects were poor for the next 24 hours, maybe longer. The boy grew frantic. Immediately after Christmas his unit was to be sent to Vietnam – where at that time war was raging – and if he didn't make this flight, he might never again spend Christmas at home. The agent was clearly moved but could only offer sympathy and not hope.
Finally, the agent announced that the flight was ready for boarding. Travelers, who had been waiting hours, shuffled onto the plane until there were no more seats. The agent turned to the frantic soldier and shrugged.
Inexplicably the businessman had lingered behind. How he stepped forward. 'I have a confirmed ticket,' he quietly told the agent. 'I'd like to give my seat to this young man.' The agent stared incredulously; then he motioned to the soldier. Unable to speak, tears streaming down his face, the boy in olive drab shook hands with the man in the gray flannel suit, who simply murmured, 'Good luck. Have a fine Christmas. Good luck.'
No more than a few among the thousand witnessed this remarkable interchange, but for those who did, the sullenness, the frustration, the hostility, all dissolved into a glow. That act of love and kindness between strangers had brought the spirit of Christmas into their hearts." (Taken from Drama at Gate 67 by Ray Jenkins)
"The Savior gave freely to all, and His gifts were of value beyond measure. He blessed the sick, restored sight to the blind, made the deaf to hear and the halt and lame to walk. He gave cleanliness to the unclean. He restored breath to the lifeless. He gave hope to the despairing and bestowed light in the darkness.
"He gave His love, His service, and His life."
"What is the spirit we feel at Christmastime? It is His spirit – the spirit of Christ."