Friday, December 14, 2007

The Best Gifts

The best gifts are the ones that melt in your purse, give you chills, create a visceral memory. My favorite gifts of past Christmases were the ones that gave me a happy moment to cherish. Every year, my kids, husband and I return to the Santa Barbara Mission on Christmas Eve. We don't go for the Christmas Eve Catholic Mass. although the kids do like to stick their heads in the door to smell the incense and listen to the music. We return every year to be together, under the stars, to gaze thoughtfully at the life sized Nativity scene. We giggle about the clothes the three kings are dressed in, commenting on the lack of an arm on one of them. Tom reminds the kids what the tree kings' names were. We like to hear our small children say "Balthazar". We talk about the story of the birth of Jesus and why he was a great person. It is not a christian discussion, but more of a human discussion- one that leaves me wanting to be a better person. The kids always play tag in the dark and we are almost always blessed with the sound of the Mission bells, which is one of our favorite gifts on Christmas Eve. It is these moments that I cherish. I hope for you these types of moments that sear your memory with the JOYS of family and the true meaning of Christmas.

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