The verse on a Christmas card I received from a dear, life-long friend has caused me to read it over and over and consider what it is trying to say to me, to us, during this busy holiday season.
"May the truest gifts of the season warm the deepest parts of your heart."
What are those truest gifts? Have we lost them among the hustle and bustle, the shopping and the parties? Christmas began as such a simple, humble event. A child was born, a very special child, who changed the world. And now we seem to be forgetting about that child. We have Santa Claus and lavish gifts. We rush around and spend too much and eat too much.
What are those truest gifts of the season? Will we allow them to find their way into the deepest parts of our hearts, or are they there already, just lying dormant? Will we take the time to listen and think about these gifts?
These gifts are the miracle and magic of Christmas. These gifts will warm us all the year through. We must find these truest gifts before it is too late. We must treasure these gifts and pass them on to the generations who will follow us.
My wish for you, my family and for myself is that we allow those truest gifts to find their way into our hearts and that we will share them with others who have lost them.
What are those truest gifts?
Making the transition from these true gifts of Christmas to our pets -- not so easy -- or is it? Each of God's creatures deserves love.
Though we are busy, we can take a little time to take our dog for a walk or a ride in the car. Spend a few minutes giving the cat a belly rub or playing with his favorite toy. Give these pets a special hot meal on a cold morning and a few extra kind words. Give them a new toy or a bone to chew while you are away or extra busy. Be sure they have a stuffed animal for their very own.
By having a pet, we have made a commitment. We are responsible for providing them not only food and shelter but -- two of the truest and greatest gifts, our love and our time.
We hear so often about the neglected and abused dogs and cats of the world. But the world is full of wonderful stories.
The other evening while driving a back street in Payson, a dog wandered into the road. His owner came running after him. I greeted him -- and said the dog resembled my son's dog. He said it came from a box in front of Wal-Mart. This is certainly one of the lucky ones -- with a loving home and caring people.
A woman in the pet food aisle at the store told me how she cooked a special meal each night for her aging dog.
Why can't every pet have a loving, caring home? But then -- does not each and every child deserve that loving home?
The truest gifts cannot be bought at the store, cannot be wrapped in fancy packages or delivered by Santa Claus. These truest gifts come from within. They come from the deepest parts of our hearts.
Those who have those gifts in abundance are indeed the fortunate ones. If we have these truest gifts, let us share them. If we do not have them, let us find them.
A joyous holiday to all.
Christy Wrather is a columnist for the Payson Roundup. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or snail mail at HC1 Box 210, Strawberry, AZ 85544.