Christmas has always been a difficult time of year for me. It’s no secret that I come from a challenged family, and Christmas did not bring out the best in us. Looking back on my childhood, my fondest memories were formed in the days leading up to Christmas — my father on a ladder, whistling happily as he strung Christmas lights along the eaves, the day the tree was delivered and how the house suddenly smelled like a forest. When colored lights blinked and glowed from the tree, the living room became my favorite room in the house. I didn’t care so much about the presents in colorful wrapping paper and ribbons placed beneath the branches, I just liked the lights.

Sometimes, late at night when everyone slept, I would tip-toe out to the living room, turn the tree lights on, and just sit there staring at them. They made me feel warm inside… hopeful. On those nights, I’d think about my favorite part of the Nativity story — the Star of Bethlehem burning bright in the east and guiding the wise men to Jesus. I wished for a star that bright to guide me, but every time I looked at the night sky, all the stars looked pretty much the same. Still, I believed in the story. I believed there was a celestial sign that led men across the desert to witness a miracle.

My wish this year for those I know, and those I don’t, is that we all look for a star — in whatever form — to guide us to who we are supposed to be. To “the better angels of our nature.” Because, right now, in this country and elsewhere, we’re not doing so well on that front. It’s insanity to pillage and destroy this fragile blue ball we call earth. This is our home and we’re destroying it. When we find an individual who has turned their home into a toxic pit of waste and trash, we take steps to remove them and get them help. We recognize that they’re ill. Yet on a grand scale, that’s what we’re doing to this earth. It’s insanity to think that a divided country, with racism and anti-semitism piling into our streets in ways most of us haven’t seen in our lifetimes, will be a successful country.

Maybe if each of us pledged to take a few moments to look at the stars, or Christmas lights, or a flickering candle, and ponder why we were put here, and who we are meant to be in this life, the usual cacophony of the season would fade and Peace on Earth would be more than a Hallmark slogan. It might actually be something we come to believe in. And we might realize that it starts in each individual heart.

8 Responses to A CHRISTMAS WISH

  1. David Marks says:

    Forgive me here, but Patti, you know me to be a rather sentimental guy, as do my other closest friends. You may recall that I cried during segments of your The Earth Breaks in Colors, and I will never apologize for those tears. When you intimately paint a story of your own life, it is always so authentic, so genuinely passionate, and this one is no different. None of us can possibly understand the full depth of being raised under your roof, but we can identify, each in our own ways. I did just that. I’m that Jew who was raised to love Christmas, although we did have a Seder or two, maybe more, but Christmas was the “it” holiday. Not because of material things, but because of the warmth of family, the quirkiness of family efforts to become the natural and stereotypical Christmas characters. My dad would ask a neighbor to climb on the roof of our second home, make a lot of noise pretending to be Santa, and my mom would look to the skies, days before Christmas, look up and say “look…there’s Santa!” When my brother and I would ask where he was, then anguish over our inability to see him, my mom would say: “well, boys, only mommies can see the real Santa….sorry, but that’s the way Sanata wants it.” You have touched some very real spots of memory…spots that continue to make me tear up. Obviously, there were bad times, too. There were negative moments which seemed to be magnified due to the season. That’s true in all families, and in all circumstances, but you’ve managed to put it all into a succinct memory of concepts and family truths, and these are the writings of a woman who has an uncanny way of allowing all of us to look back, recall the not so wonderful, juxtaposed against the magic of it all. You do it every time, Patti; you manage to call our hearts, as if a whisper allowing us to feel tender moments, and set aside the negative ones. This is a world so mired in hate and consumed by fear and anxiety, that we absolutely must look for that star, that sign, that something, that gives us permission to rely on hope, no matter how sentimental. If your dad could console this nation now, I could hear him ask of all to look to tomorrow, to never forget that the past is our greatest indication that tomorrow is rife with ideals, and that the love we feel for our fellow man/woman, is the love that binds, no matter what the current state of global affairs. He might even ask that we knock on our neighbors’ door and just hug them, remembering that t’is the season to embrace thy neighbor, to set fear and hate aside, even for a moment, and to remember that love and good will dominate our lesser emotions. I can hear his voice, and I can hear his hope for a warm and steady tomorrow. He was that star you ask of us to look for; his voice was tender and uplifting, and I, for one, will never forget that about him. Thank you, dearest Patti. Have a wondrous Christmas, and know how extraordinarily special you are, for you have inherited all the good that your father possessed. all while evolving into the very independent and loving woman who you are….who you will always be. You’re a very special gift.

  2. Thomas Beckett says:

    As all good and bad.!.
    .. we have to of had,
    Some that are
    Good and some that are bad.!.
    This Christmas times swell
    I know you don’t tell,.
    Your my princess by Farr?,?
    Send me a sample to me …
    Facebook for me

  3. Edward Jenny says:

    Happy Holidays, may the lights always be there for you as you are for those of us who appreciate your talent, stories, and Gracie. Be well, Peace.

  4. Eric Little says:

    Thanks for sharing your memories and your hopes for a better tomorrow. There’s a lot​ I could say in response, but I’ll just say “Amen” – which in essence means “Let it be so.”

  5. Rodney Wilson says:

    Christmas is about hope, so I will maintain my hope as a guiding star.

  6. Diane Hicks says:

    Patti, I have had your book “Angels Don’t Die” on my shelf for many years and never read it- until today. I lost my father this year, and like you, believe we choose our parents from the “spirit kingdom” before we are born. You said as much in your book. I was comforted, encouraged, and motivated by your words.

    Then I read your “A Christmas Wish”, (Sorry, I have no punctuation in this format) and found that it too resonated with me- on a deep soul level. Angels come in many forms. Sometimes we receive the information we need from others. Sometimes we are the angel providing the needed message to others. You were my angel today in more ways than you can know.

    Keep the faith. Keep talking to God, and you will get answers- in God’s time. I am still learning all of this. My father was a great admirer of your father. I am sure they are together and that’s why I felt compelled after some 20 years to take your book off my shelf suddenly today,to read it. Stay the course, keep the faith, and continue the path toward fulfilling your purpose. Thank you. Diane

  7. Mick Bysshe says:

    There is a plaque in the dining room of the Adult Care Home I live in. It says simply “The key to success is following God’s guidance.” That reminds me of Proverbs 3:6– “In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.” May that be your guiding star is we move into a new year.

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