Merry Christmas to kids everywhere who last night tightly squeezed their eyes and strained to hear reindeer footsteps on the rooftop. They finally fell asleep in a bed full of warmth and full of dreams. And Merry Christmas to all of us who wish we could still believe in a Santa Claus.
Merry Christmas to those who stood at midnight masses and loudly proclaimed a joy to the world. And to those exchanging hearty handshakes and greetings of fellowship across all churches and all denominations last night and today. Merry Christmas to those standing alone and humbled while pausing in front of a manger at a nativity scene. In the quietness of their thoughts they will take faith in knowing a Saviour was indeed born for all mankind some 20 centuries ago. And Merry Christmas to the secularists. You need it more than anyone.
Merry Christmas to the 50, 60, 70, heck, 80-something "kids" who still get a kick by stealing some moments and going down the basement to play choo-choo with those big clunky oversized Lionel trains that we loved so long ago.
Merry Christmas to children who still have fun building stuff like Tinker Toys - not needing a plug, battery, digital card, net hook-up or what have you - to do so.
Merry Christmas, God bless those lovable little devils, to all the toddlers out there who will choose to play not with the $500 kitchen play set their first-time parents bought them for Christmas but instead with the cardboard box it came in.
Merry Christmas to all the sleepy dads out there who built the, yeah right, "just follow the simple and easy directions" Barbie Dreams Castles into the cursed wee hours of last night. And then realizing it was worth it after when seeing their daughter's eyes sparkle like moonlight on a snow drift this Christmas morn. The mere words "adult assembly required" can be downright scary. And does anyone out there have any extra batteries?
Merry Christmas to all the senior citizens who will quietly sit and rock in a chair tonight recalling Christmases spent during the Depression and a World War. They will recall cracking walnuts and whittling a Christmas tree decoration out of a simple piece of wood with a pocket knife given to them by their own grandpap. They will open the scrapbooks of their souls and wonder where oh where did so many Christmases and calendars go. Somewhere off in the distance in the back of their minds they will hear Bing Crosby dreaming of a white Christmas. They will suddenly feel very sad and very old.
Merry Christmas to the senior citizens on fixed incomes. Standing in front of a storefront trying to determine whether they can go without less food or less medicine until the next not enough Social Security check, they will nevertheless hear a familiar ringing bell. They will reach out and deposit a handful of coins and perhaps some glove lint into the Salvation Army kettle. And they will feel good about helping others.
Merry Christmas to the parents who - damn the weather, wet clothes and sniffles - will let their anxious kids outside in the snow to ride those spanking new sleds like sleek wings across across the clouds. Tomorrow will provide just that opportunity. Have you paid any mind to the weather forecast? Yikes!
Merry Christmas to all the paycheck-to-paycheck parents who somehow, some way - without completely blowing their credit limit! - balanced their budgets like a Ringling Brothers juggler to buy enough to cover the entire floor in front of the Christmas tree. And they'll do it again next year because if feels good to do so.
Merry Christmas to kids everywhere - including those wishing for just their two front teeth - who will stand in front of the oven today with grandma and make cookies the old fashioned way. Merry Christmas to the favorite uncle who will carve the turkey like a chef school graduate. And to the favorite aunt who never forgets to bake a pumpkin pie. Or two.
Merry Christmas to the senior citizen who will stand today in front of the gravestone belonging to a lifetime sweetheart. Wind will run through the naked branches of tired and creaking trees standing sentry in the cemetery. Melting snowflakes will meld with tears on a cheek of a very lonely person. The widows and widowers will bend down and leaves roses on graves. They will stand - some will kneel - and say a silent prayer on a silent night. They will then straighten up and brace themselves for another day, another Christmas, without a spouse. The emptiness will be ceaseless. The wind will continue to run. And rose petals will catch the snowflakes and the tears.
Merry Christmas to all of those who know, truly know, that the best gifts don't come with a ribbon and wrapped in shiny paper. They don't come with a return slip. They don't come with a designer label. They aren't endorsed by a handsomely endorsed handsome athlete or celebrity. We know what those gifts are and maybe we could all start giving a few more of them ourselves. Like affection, courtesy and companionship. Or course, some new golf balls on Christmas are always nice.
Merry Christmas to anyone like myself who is blessed with the best father a son could have and was blessed, so very blessed, with the best mother a son could have ever asked for. Merry Christmas to the best daughters, my daughters, a father could have. A?Merry Christmas to a now-4-year-old smiley face of a grandson named Layne William. We are especially thankful for him this Christmas. And then there's 8-month-old Lydia Marie, a beaming moon face of delight and curiosity who is still a ways away from figuring the whole Christmas thing out - including Santa. But will indulge in her own fun today as only an infant can. Merry Christmas to the best siblings a brother could have and the best buddies a guy could ask for. Thank you all so very, very much.
A very merry Christmas to everyone reading this. May peace and joy and spirit come your way. May contentment comes into your life if missing now. If empty, may your heart be filled with smiles and the warmth of the sun.
And to all, don't forget to feed the birds.
- J.D. Creer, original version appeared in 2004.