Wow….the countdown has begun in earnest, Nine days until Christmas, as of today. I hope that your preparations are going well, and that you have plans you like for the holidays, with friends or family, and the people who are meaningful to you. I still have to buy a gift for the “elephant game” we play on Christmas Eve. Other than that, I think I’m set, with things I hope my friends and family will enjoy. We will have new future in laws at Christmas Dinner with us this year, so it should be a big happy group with some new faces.
I thought of a holiday tradition today which is very meaningful to me, although it’s not of my own religious traditions. It’s the children’s tops called Dreidels that they play with on Hanukkah, in the Jewish faith. When my son Nick passed away, it was a very hard time for me, and for our whole family, as you can imagine. He was barely more than a kid, in his teens, and shortly after he died, I got a terrible cold (as one does sometimes after emotional traumas), and it was getting steadily worse, so I went to see our family doctor, who startled me by taking one of those tops, a Dreidel, out of a drawer and handed it to me. The top has four sides, and has a Hebrew letter on each side, and our doctor explained that it says “A great miracle happened here”. At the time, I thought he was crazy—-a great miracle? My son’s death? He said that in time, we would find that a great miracle had happened. I kept the Dreidel, and always remembered what he said, and years later, I realized what he said was true. Although a loss for all of us, we established two foundations in his honor, to help the mentally ill, the homeless, and to support suicide prevention. In the years since Nick’s death, our foundations to honor Nick have supported dozens of organizations that assist the mentally ill in solid, concrete ways, and through those organizations have helped thousands of people. Surviving a hard blow like that brought us closer together as a family, and has helped others as well. The lessons we learned from him, and after him have been cherished lessons, and miracles of love. It is comforting to know that indirectly Nick helped so many people, and that it truly is a kind of miracle. Do we still miss him terribly? Of course, and there is always a bittersweet edge to holidays when we miss him even more (he was the family clown, and always made us laugh with his antics!!! he had a great sense of humor). But Nick’s life was a miracle, a miracle of love. I have always had a tender affection for Dreidels when I see them, and remember what the doctor said. ‘A great miracle happened here’. Nick was a miracle, love is always a miracle, family is a miracle even if they aren’t our birth families, and are friends who have become families to us. Love in all forms is a miracle.
I’m so grateful for those miracles, and the reminder that the Dreidels provide. I have several on my desk, and collect them. No matter how hard our paths have been, we all have had miracles in our lives, some are obvious and easy to see, and other challenges you have to look at more closely to see the miracles in them more clearly.
May your holidays be touched by miracles, large and small, easy ones that are easy to embrace and identify. And even if these holidays are challenging for you in some way, looking back at them, you may see miracles that you haven’t noticed yet.
I wish you miracles for these holidays. And above all, I wish you holidays filled with joy, peace, and love.
Have a great week!!!