"4 Candles to Illuminate the Christmas Cookies I'll Sneak from the Kitchen and Eat in a Closet"
by Thomas Boulan
Today is Christmas Eve, a day on which people will engage in activities as varied as attending Midnight Mass, shopping at gas stations and drug stores for last-second gifts, eating Chinese food, cursing while trying to put toys together according to incoherent schematics, watching "A Christmas Story," making pierogi or serving 7-course seafood feasts, stuffing stockings and leaving cookies for Santa ... an entire buffet table of choices, each continuing a tradition whether cultural or religious or individual.
And so, in honor of that variety (and because we all know how notoriously bad I am at making decisions!), today I'm offering an assortment of my own: one of Tom's beautiful artworks, which began life as a simple photo of our menorah at Chanukkah, as well as a most festive and fabulous song. These are bestowed as gifts to my friends and followers, albeit without a bow or curling ribbon or wrapping paper.
In closing, let me also share a strikingly poignant note that I found while perusing a display of Christmas cards as I waited for a friend who works at an office which serves the homeless and mentally ill; this was written in one of the cards, and it truly brings tears to my eyes each time I read the words:
"Thank you all for helping me find & keep a Home where I can have a Christmas."
How many Christmases did he wake up, knowing what day it was and feeling alone, forgotten, heartbroken ... and cold??? (His card also offered prayers for those who are still outside or in tents.) How many times did he feel isolated, not a part of the festivities and the joy of a day which clearly means so much to him??? If only we could all be so grateful for our blessings and for the important people in our lives, and have such a deep appreciation of the specialness of the season! I do hope that all his hopes and dreams come true, however simple or grand his plans are for celebrating.
May all of you receive the most precious gifts this Christmas: peace, love, health and happiness. Each is more priceless than any material item, and I wish them to you with all my heart ... :)