Christmas Connections

I’ve been indulging in Christmas Movies over the past couple of weeks. They’ve been the perfect distraction from my recent hospital stay and disease progression.

They have never really been my thing but the more I watch, the more I fall in love with the beautiful locations they are filmed in, the Christmas scenes and to my surprise, the scripts aren’t half bad. Sometimes a little predictable but often the message within the storyline is thought provoking and very moving.

A Christmas miracle is of course always captured at the end of each movie.

Christmas Miracles

The very first Christmas miracle was so far removed from our romantic concept of Christmas today.

Mary and Joseph had a very uncertain and tumultuous time ahead of them on the first Christmas. They needed to find a place to stay. They needed to protect their baby from harm’s way.

Jesus was born in a stable and laid in a manger. This is where the stable animals would have been fed. Nothing 5 star about the experience…or even 1 star for that matter.

There were angels from on high and an amazing star in the sky, leading the shepherds and wise men from afar. Much more interesting than a Trivago rating.

Fast forward to 2021 and life still doesn’t always run smoothly. COVID-19 has let us know, in no uncertain terms, challenges are always around the corner.

The perfect winter scene Christmas card, isn’t a true reflection of the real meaning of Christmas.

It doesn’t mean we can’t experience “Christmas Miracles” or special moments today, even in the midst of challenging situations. Often our miracles will be private and understated, just like the stable where Jesus was born. Nobody would even know the absolute joy they have brought you.

Christmas miracles can come in ways we weren’t expecting, but we need to be open to receiving them. If we are caught up with too much busyness, attending parties, hosting family get togethers etc, we may miss the significance of a seemingly small gesture, which has much greater meaning.

It’s these kinds of understated events which can be so uplifting and so emotional, you just know it’s your own little “Christmas Miracle”.

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A Very Real Script

Sometimes real life is the best story script ever. I’m often overwhelmed by moments where a series of “non scripted” events, result in an outcome I couldn’t possibly have imagined.

As my readers know, my life is pretty simple due to the limitations my bone disease imposes on me.

While I could do without my pain levels, the simple life is one I’ve happily accepted.

As a result of my health though, a couple of years ago I nearly missed out on a series of Christmas Miracles, which proved to be priceless.

In November each year I begin the annual task of writing our Christmas Newsletter and Christmas cards.

My husband and I have lived in many areas of Australia, with his work as an Anglican Clergyman and mine as an Executive Manager in the finance industry. We’ve made life-long friends along the way and we love hearing their news and sharing ours. So as you can imagine the mailing list is not short.

Physically it is really beyond my capabilities now and I was contemplating giving this annual tradition a miss.

Yes, I could possibly send emails instead of writing cards and printing newsletters, but there is something so special I think, about receiving snail mail in the letterbox at Christmas, especially a card.

It’s probably the romantic in me!!

So, I decided I needed to persevere with my annual tradition, at least one more time. I paced the task over 3 weeks and by the first week of December the pile of mail was ready for my husband to take to the Post Office.

Mission accomplished, I turned my focus to other things.

There was one special card in the pile though. I had found some old photos of my eldest nephew and me from a Christmas about 30 years ago. They brought back such beautiful memories for me and given I don’t have children of my own, I felt it was time to start giving these kinds of tangible memories to my nephew. I was hoping he would enjoy the trip down memory lane.

A week after the cards were posted, I received a text from my nephew thanking me for the photos and letting me know they “made his day, they mean a lot”…his words!

His message brought me so much joy. I wasn’t sure if he’d want them and I hesitated in sending them. I was so glad I listened to the still small voice saying, “just send them”!!

After knowing the joy those old photos brought my nephew and me, I couldn’t believe what arrived in the mail the week before Christmas.

Among some beautiful letters from old friends with lovely Christmas greetings, was a card from a very special lady. I’ve mentioned before I migrated to Australia with my parents from the Uk when I was 3 years of age.

My parents built a new home once they arrived and we quickly became friends with the family next door. Our new Aussie neighbours welcomed us into their hearts and home. I grew up with the boys next door from age 3 to 11 and I have such special menories of those years and the adventures we shared together. It was not unusual for those adventures to leave us grounded and only allowed to talk to each other across the front yard fence.

The Christmas Card catching my eye in the pile, was from my neighbour all those years ago. She is a lovely lady and we both look forward to our annual newsletters. As I opened the card, her letter fell out but so did something else. It was a photo. Not just any photo….it was a photo of me and the boys next door, standing outside my childhood home. I would have been 4 years old.

I immediately saw the significance of this photo. I had sent my nephew old photos which meant so much to him and a few weeks later, I received an old photo which was so unexpected and so special to me.

I couldn’t have scripted it if you’d asked me to!! A simple, understated Christmas miracle.

Christmas Connections, Past, Present And Future

Christmas conjures up all kinds of emotions and memories for us. Some beautiful, some sorrowful, and some we’d much prefer we could forget altogether.

Ultimately though the underlying theme of our memories and thoughts is how they connect to our lives. The connections of our past, present and future.

It’s probably why the famous ” A Christmas Carol” script and the story of Scrooge, has lived on through the years. It’s focused on the past, present and future connections in life and the choices made. The choices which can change our own life scripts for better or for worse.

I could have chosen to send no Christmas cards. I had every genuine reason to stop this yearly tradition. Had I made this choice I would have missed out on my special Christmas blessing. I would have missed out on being a blessing to others, as well as receiving many cards of love and support from lifelong friends. We even received an unexpected phone call from friends we hadn’t spoken to for 15 years….all because I chose to send the Christmas card and newsletter.

In the busyness of life, or perhaps the solitude if you are on your own, don’t be afraid to be quiet. Don’t be afraid to expect your own understated miracles, not just at Christmas but all year through.

Think carefully about the choices you make. Sometimes when we choose not to do something, we may miss out on a blessing we never expected to occur.

My 2022 Christmas Card List

So, here we are, two years later and my disease has progressed further since Christmas 2019. I’ve yet again contemplated not sending our annual newsletter and writing Christmas cards and I know I’d be forgiven under the circumstances.

It’s not an easy task for me physically but as I look back on the previous Christmas Connections miracles, how can I not continue to reach out and connect with those in our lives who mean so much.

My Christmas miracle this year may not be connected to writing cards but the point is, I don’t know that. I have a choice to connect or disconnect. I’m choosing to connect.

I guess you know what I’ll be doing this weekend! I’ll be doing it with joy in my heart, knowing it’s a choice….my Christmas choice to spread a little love, a little gesture to others to let them know they are remembered. Who knows, the Christmas miracle this year might not be mine but be for a recipent of my card. It might arrive just when someone needed a little pick me up.

Chronic illness is limiting, there is no question about it. However, there is always something we can do, within our limitations, which may bring someone else some joy and in turn can be a blessing for us too.

I hope, no matter the season, there are events for many people which are understated, but are simple, perfectly scripted life moments, which turn into perfect little miracles.

My hope and prayer for you is a Christmas miracle is awaiting, as you make a choice to engage in this most wonderful time of the year.

Sam xx

If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding and friendship, you are so welcome to join my closed Facebook support forum, Medical Musings with Friends . It’s a safe place to connect with others living with chronic and complex diseases, who truly understand the daily challenges. A warm welcome awaits.

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Healthcare Collaborator Nominee 2020
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2 thoughts on “Christmas Connections

  1. Sam, I had a similar photo experience. My aunt let me borrow a long-lost picture of my mom, and I promised she would get it back along with some of my mom’s collectibles she really wanted but had not asked about. Well, covid intervened, and we did not get back to my aunts for 18 months. When we got back to her area, I called and found she was in an assisted nursing facility, and she could not see us.

    My uncle was an approved visitor, so I took the items to him with a note wishing her well. A few days later, I received an envelope with the picture mailed back and her thanks for bringing it back to my aunt along with the collectibles. What a thrill, and it was unexpected. We have since started a little pen pal chain.

    rick

    Liked by 1 person

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