Everything is a gift. Everything. Even the heartache and loss we may have all experienced at one time or another in our lives. What significant for me is the evolving awareness and acceptance of the nature and qualities of a gift.
As a child, Christmas was about asking. Tallying the number of presents under the tree, comparing your loot pile with the amounts your brother or sister may have. Shaking and wondering what could be inside the packages… the resigned knowledge that the gooshy one was socks and underwear.
In my house, Christmas was also all about rituals. Christmas mass at midnight, vaulting out of bed Christmas morning as soon as you could smell coffee perking, wafting through the house… My uncles dragging the electric Lionel train set from the attic and setting it up on the living room floor in front of the fireplace. We kids were forbidden from playing with it, but we were allowed to hand our uncles the smoke pellets that went into the engine.
“Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.”~Author unknown, attributed to a 7-year-old named Bobby
I was 13 when my grandma died, and with her passing, my Christmases changed. I began to realize that the gifts weren’t the things like my Marx Big Wheel or the shiny baubles I received from Santa. They were the stories I got to hear passed down from generations, like the time my Uncle Bruce was sent to school in a tuxedo because it was laundry day, and grandma’s only other option was sending him to school in dungarees. It was the use of grandma’s best china and the silver that were brought out to herald the season. It was the gift of a musical (and quite frankly, offbeat) family that held a rousing Skit Night after the dishes were done.
“Christmas – that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance – a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved.” ~ Augusta E. Rundel
As our lives expand, they begin to intersect with an ever-increasing network of people. Teachers, bosses, colleagues, spouses, children… Each person who comes into our lives brings gifts – lessons and love that enrich us and help us to become who we are. What’s wonderful is that if we are paying attention, we can begin to identify our own gifts and strengths.
Once identified, we can begin to hone and develop these gifts and offer them in service to others, which allows them to be magnified. We all have gifts; it’s our responsibility to discover and nurture them. In so doing, we actually multiply the gift, because through enriching ourselves in this way, others benefit.
“We hear the beating of wings over Bethlehem and a light that is not of the sun or of the stars shines in the midnight sky. Let the beauty of the story take away all narrowness, all thought of formal creeds. Let it be remembered as a story that has happened again and again, to men of many different races, that has been expressed through many religions, that has been called by many different names. Time and space and language lay no limitations upon human brotherhood.”~New York Times, 25 December 1937, quoted in Quotations for Special Occasions by Maud van Buren, 1938, published by The H.W. Wilson Company, New York
In the time since I have had the privilege of blogging for Liz Strauss, my network has expanded and I have been the beneficiary of many gifts: friendship, support, personal development and laughter. Sometimes, I get very frustrated with myself because I feel as though I have so much yet to accomplish. But when I have an opportunity such as this to look back over the previous twelve months and see the flux and ripples of my great good fortune, I am overcome with gratitude for the intangibles I have received.
The advent of social media has made possible an international, global community that gives a new dimension to the concept of brotherhood. Our earth is becoming increasingly smaller, and our common humanity is ever more evident. I wish to personally thank you for joining me on this journey and I hope I can convey how much I appreciate your presence in my life.
May every blessing be yours, today and always.
Molly Cantrell-Kraig is a woman with drive. Possessing an innate sense of purpose and a pragmatic, solution-based approach to empowering people, she fused these two traits in order to establishÂ Women With Drive Foundation. Based upon its founder’s personal history, Women With Drive Foundation is a means through which Cantrell-Kraig may effect change on both a micro and macro level. By providing women with something as essential as personal transportation in order to transition them from poverty to prosperity, she, through Women With Drive Foundation, seeks to empower women to help them help themselves. Through this action, the individual applicant benefits, as does society as a whole. Follow Molly on twitter as@mckra1g orÂ @WWDr1ve (Women With Drive Foundation) or “Like” them onÂ facebook.