The Currency of Christmas

Published 1:29 pm Friday, December 22, 2023

By Robert St. John
Everyone has a favorite holiday. December 25th is my favorite holiday and it’s not even close.
It’s always been my favorite and no other holiday has matched it for 62 years.
As a kid I’m sure I liked Christmas because of the toys I received that morning. But what I didn’t
realize as I was dreaming of bicycles and new stereo systems – and opening GI Joes and Legos
– was that the memories that were being forged in my subconscious had nothing to do with
material things.
My brother and I grew up in a home with a single mom. It is just now hitting me – as I type this
sentence – that we were the only family in the neighborhood with a family dynamic such as that.
It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child. I am living proof of that adage, and
whereas there were a few years in my late teens that the community had their hands full and
were probably ready to kick me out of the tribe, I was able to come out on the other end in one
piece, largely due to the love and support from my family and that community.
My mother was widowed in her early thirties. My brother was 10. I was six. As monumental as
the death of a parent is, it had little effect on me, emotionally. We lacked the material things my
friends had – and that may have bothered me at the time, but I don’t remember ever feeling that
Christmas was a big deal for us because toys weren’t gifted throughout the year. Birthdays and
Christmas were the only times a new toy was going to show up at our house. Funny, I can only
remember a couple of the toys I received over the years, but I can remember almost all the
Christmas Eve meals, Christmas breakfasts, and time spent with my loved ones in that house
and theirs.
My mom was a public school art teacher. We didn’t have much money. But as a 62-year old
man I can see how rich we truly were. We had family and friends, and and it’s family and friends that
make the season, not the stuff. It’s family and friends that lead to a fuller life. It’s family and
friends that make Christmas my favorite holiday.
Many don’t have a family to spend time with this Christmas. Let’s all be ever mindful of that and
stay connected. Connection is the key. The season is hard on many for various reasons. Let’s
do what we can to share our blessings, but mostly let’s share our time, our love, and our
support. Give a friend a call. Share a meal with a neighbor who lives alone. Run errands. Cook
food. Being present is the present. That is the true currency of Christmas.
May God bless you and yours this holiday season.


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