Learning the True Meaning of Christmas

By Karen Heinz

Thinking back of all the Christmas’s in my life I search deep to find one that would qualify to be my most memorable. Growing up we never had the Christmas mornings every child dreams of. Things were tough and there were some years there was only one or two gifts under the tree… and in most cases a gift you never wanted or ever asked for, yet somehow as a child you had to try to muster up a look of excitement. I am not here to dwell on my Christmas’s as a child… but rather to tell of one of my own children.

We learn through our experiences and I am grateful for all that I have had. For I truly believe they have made me the person I am today. When I fell in love and started my family my one goal was to some how some way give my children a better life than I had.

One Christmas season my two young boys at the age of 3 and 5 so wanted the rave of the season… a Power Wheel. Needless to say at that time in our lives we could not afford such a gift. We put forth great efforts to give them a joyful Christmas morning, but it seemed we failed our task. For once all the gifts were un-wrapped the boys looked at me and asked… where is our power wheel? No matter what answer we gave they were not satisfied. Eventually we convinced them to enjoy the gifts they received.

The following year I was lucky enough to get an unexpected Christmas bonus. With the memory of last year so clear in my mind I knew just what gift I was going to get. I was like a kid in a candy store so excited to make the purchase I knew in my heart my little ones so wanted. Christmas morning finally arrived; I could not wait for them to awake to come see what Santa had brought. We went through the usual fan fare of the morning ending up with the usual mess of wrappings all around. My excitement was beyond control for I knew it was now time to show them their special gift. For you see it was hidden in another room. Sitting there waiting for them to find with the biggest red bow attached. We slowly walked them to the door and opened it. I could feel trembling inside of me waiting to see their joy and surprise. But… that did not happen… they were silent… looked at each other and promptly turned to me and said… “WE WANTED THAT LAST YEAR NOT THIS YEAR!” My heart sank… my eyes started to swell with tears, trying with all my might to hold them back. The boys promptly left the room and went to the gifts that were under the tree. I as a mother never felt so sad so dejected, I felt a failure. Just a few short moments before I was more excited than I had been in a long time. The only thing I could do was go to my bed room and cry.

One may be thinking how this Christmas tale could be classified as a memorable one. Though the day itself was not full of joy the years after were. This Christmas is when I truly learned you can not please everyone, you can not get them everything they so desire. That you just have to do the best you can and move on. And if you can not fill the dreams of your child one year do not attempt to fill them the next. For children always seem to have new dreams, new desires. New wants, new wishes at times they don’t really even know what they want until they get it without asking.

Now that my boys are grown, we reminisce of that Christmas past when they made their mommy cry. And we do not remember it in sadness, we remember it in joy. For it was yet another learning experience for us all. Through the years my boys have learned it is not what you ask for that is important, it is rather the love you get and give that means so much more. Christmas is so much more than the presents under the tree. Giving joy, love, understanding, caring and compassion to one another is worth so much more. I am ever so grateful that my children have learned this lesson, as well as I.

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