For the past few weeks, my two youngest children have been talking about what they want for Christmas. The lists began to form about mid-November, a modest collection of this and that. Nothing that would break the bank or Santa's aching back as he pulls that sack up and out of his sleigh. We are fairly careful to keep it as simple as possible. But of course, it's fun to think about the magic of Christmas at this time of year -- writing letters to Santa, browsing through dog-eared copies of the Sears Wishbook.
And dreaming about what might be waiting there underneath the tree come Christmas Day.
However, it is all too easy to get caught up in that holiday hullabaloo; shopping, ticking things off our list. Compiling our lists of wants and needs. And I have been struck this year by the fact that there are people -- adults and children the world over, who sadly know that this is their last Christmas spent here on earth. Their last Christmas ever. And with this carefully in mind, I have started to shift my attention and focus to a few of these stories.
Meet Addie Fausett. She's a little girl much like my own daughter or the little ones I teach in my kindergarten classroom. Except Addie is dying- this is her last Christmas. Due to an unknown illness, she stopped growing when she was 3 and she now weighs all of 23 pounds. Doctors told her Mom last month that she will not last more than the coming year. With that in mind, her family wants to make this Christmas one of the most meaningful ones they have ever had. Because all Addie really wants materialistically this year as a gift is some Christmas cards from all of her friends. There has been a world-wide appeal for Christmas cards for her, as this would be one of the more meaningful gifts a child spending their last Christmas might like to receive.
If you would be interested in sending her a card, here is her address:
c/o Tami Fausett
Box 162, Fountain Green, Utah, USA 84632
Meet Cali Griggs, a little girl from Glendale, Arizona. She's two years old, and she has terminal cancer. A couple of weeks ago, the doctors gave her one to three months to live, but her parents intuitively believe she won't even make it until Christmas. All Cali wants this year is to experience Christmas- the lights, the glow, the paper-wrapping, the smells and sounds. The snow. Her community came together in mid-November to create a winter wonderland for her outside her home. "She just wanted to get out and play with everything. She was so happy. And I had to fight it, I was about to cry," said Greg Griggs, Cali's father.
And if these stories are not enough to break our hearts, meet Aimee Willett who is 26. She's a mommy to two precious little boys. She had her first ever, routine PAP test this past year and in June, doctors told her there was cancer and it was inoperable. Doctors have told her that she is unlikely to survive until 2016. This will be her last Christmas
I ask myself: is there something I can do? However small that something might be. Something I can do even within the community in which I live. The school in which I teach. Is there something I can do- both for these precious families as well as for the others who are unknown and living out countless stories much like these three I have shared above?
Don't we all play a part in making this Christmas an unforgettable one for the people we encounter around us?
I write this piece not to make anyone feel guilty or pressured- only so as to broaden hearts and give us all a deeper awareness of the world around us. I write so as to remind myself and others that this Christmas: we can make it the most meaningful one ever, both for ourselves and for others, by choosing to think outside our comfort zone -- outside our private lives. Our own little world. We can make this holiday season meaningful by choosing to extend our love -- our care and concern, to the multitude of others in the world around us.
We can GIVE Christmas away this year, one Christmas card at a time.