Monday, December 19, 2011

Home for Christmas


"Home for Christmas." What a beautiful, heartwarming thought - the very best of its kind! Last night my family all came home, once again, for Christmas. As always, it was magical, especially now that beloved grandchildren unwrap toys in the exact spot where my daughters once did. That poignant observation opened reflection in territory most frequently traveled by those of us who live in the great state of "grandmotherhood."

As the children played, surrounded by loving, attentive parents, grandparents and aunts and uncles, I experienced full realization of what people mean when they say, "Even though we have nothing, we have everything." Because even if we, personally, were not laden with gifts to give one another, we would still, truly, have "everything!"

I know too, that it is not just our present generations who possess the elusive "everything." At my side stands a Christmas tree decorated with many ornaments that delighted my mother when I was a child. I remember the way she would gently guide my hand to hang them. Alongside those are ones my grandmother bought and used for herself. I often wondered why she would buy clear glass balls with mint green and pink stripes. This year, for the first time, I realized that those stripes were originally "Christmas red" and "holly green," having faded right along with the now-orange yarn limbs of our family treasure, "Jimmy Christmas." The most startling of my realizations however, is that this wonderful woman, who was my maternal grandmother, has now become a great-great grandmother with the addition of Bree and the twins!

Memories of those dear ladies who taught me, in fine example, how to have "everything" by loving and giving, return even more vividly with the privilege of handling fragile, cherished tokens of their lives - ones that they themselves touched and fondly smiled upon long ago when colors were bright and clear.

So, here I am today, right in the middle of five generations, each member known and profoundly loved by me as I welcome them all Home for Christmas!

Brielle takes a break from opening gifts.....but not from being adorable!

Yet, the "Home for Christmas" stories that most deeply touch my heart do not involve people! Those stories are reflected in the eyes of family pets - dogs and cats - who came into our lives broken, neglected, fearful, and desperately hungry - not only for food, but for the love of  kind people who would care enough to take them in, make them part of the family and present them with their first, very own, chubby Christmas stockings to paw open and enjoy.

This year it is Roxie, who for the first time in three years, nestles beneath a lighted tree and warms herself before a fireplace. Before we adopted her in August she was one of eighty five dogs taken by Animal Control from a woman who hoarded and neglected them. Roxie's sole source of shelter was the carcass of an old car, where she was found huddled in fear with eight new born puppies. Her ears will always bear scars from attacks by larger, more aggressive dogs, endured while protecting her litter and subsisting on whatever she found to eat in the weeds. But all of that is over now. She has come home at last. There will be no more babies to fight for and protect. Now she is our baby, and we are here to protect her!

Still, the easy part is to take in a sweet, appreciative dog like Roxie and feel the warm glow that comes from providing another first, happy Christmas. It is far more difficult to be a first respondent from the rescue organization that took all of the dogs into protective custody, attended to their medical and psychological needs and placed them in loving "forever" homes.

On behalf of Roxie and those immeasurably kind people, I ask you to consider worthy animal welfare groups as recipients of your seasonal charitable giving - and your prayers!

"Home for Christmas"....for every one of God's living creatures.....wouldn't that be wonderful?

This year, I'm exactly where I belong....HOME for Christmas!
(and no, I'm not budging!)
xxx Love, Roxie xxx

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