My best gift on Christmas morning was the one I gave myself "Happiness Now."
In the middle of December, I formulated a new resolution: Come Christmas morning, my goal was to be fully present rather than focus on my lack of being surprised. You can read the original post about my love of surprises here.
Christmas Morning Resolution
Christmas arrived, and I woke on my own shortly after dawn. I quickly dressed in my chilled bedroom. I then made my way to the living room by the Christmas tree where some of my family members had already gathered. They spoke in hushed tones, mindful of those still sleeping.
Gabriel was building a fire in the woodburning stove, a tradition he never fails to uphold every Christmas morn. He picked up the custom from his older brother—who has since departed from home to start a family of his own.
Upon my arrival, my daughter declared her father (my husband) had texted and had just left the fire station. This pronouncement was good news. As of last night, he had no "relief." You see, he is a firefighter and cannot leave his post until there is someone to take his place—a relief. Whether his original relief had a vacation day or a sick day, he would not be coming in; hubby would have to wait until someone else was found to relieve him before he could head home.
In the best of cases, he comes home between 7:30 and 8 am. In the worst of cases, it could be late morning before he shows up. Evidently, although they were understanding, everyone at our house was disappointed. If indeed he had just left, his ETA would be about 8:30—which was not too shabby.
I texted my daughter-in-law to let her know she and her family could head to our home anytime.
Hubby arrived at about the same time as our son and his family.
Sixteen family members gathered around the room...not one missing. I felt so blessed.
Hubby did not break from tradition and read from the Bible before we could commence with our celebration. Afterwards, Jeremie also followed "protocol" by distributing gifts—an honor he has held for years.
I sat in my spot (yes, the same place every year), and just watched the morning unfold before my eyes. The excitement was palpable, with smiles all around, shining eyes, giggles, joking, camaraderie, and love.
These people are my family, everyone related to me in some way—husband, children, in-laws, and grand-babies.
I am an incredibly blessed woman.
In the hustle and bustle, no one noticed I was not opening the gifts piling at my feet. On the other hand, I observed everything and I took in all in: the sounds, smells, and sights. I tried to make sure nothing escaped me.
It was a bit as if I was in my own timeless bubble, where everything became brighter, clearer, and more palpable to all my senses.
My heart was full.
When my loved ones were done opening their gifts, my husband turned to me: "Aren't you going to open your gifts?"
I wanted to respond: "I already did."
Instead, I turned to my precariously assembled pile and started mindfully opening each gift, thanking the appropriate person and gushing as I went.
And what do you know? I was genuinely surprised by a few of them.
Wonders never cease for those whose hearts are open and ready.
Indeed, happiness happens in the Now, at this very moment, not one minute sooner, not one minute later.
Enjoy this moment.