From: those are the days of OUR lives Lives: Dearborn
Last night I went over to a family gathering for Christmas. We have a family tradition where our families, or the surviving members, gather for Christmas on the eve to eat, and exchange gifts and catch up.
We decided years ago to only to have the kids exchange very meager gifts as opposed to everyone buying each other gifts in such difficult times. This Christmas was very different as our dear grandparents who migrated to Dearborn from France after surviving WWII had passed away, one this year and one a few years ago. We lost a dear aunt and uncle, and have another very sick uncle in the hospital and another who would soon undergo major surgery. Through all the hard times we continue our family tradition that our grandparents started and gave their entire lives that we would continue for our kids and grand kids.
When we gathered, me and my brothers were told by my parents that our grandparents wished us to have a piece of their inheritance. It was a very large check. Everyone loves to get a check with a lot of zeros on it. It struck me for the first time in my life that I would have rather been poor and had my grandparents here. They had been in our lives for so long that, even after rejoicing in their lives, and having had such a full life of wonderful memories with them, I would trade everything I had for them to be here with us. Itâ€™s been a very difficult year for our family and me, but this was my epiphany on Christmas. It took over 40 years to find it out, but I suppose some folks never do.
My Aunt gave me a gift bag when the kids were exchanging gifts. She told me that she found something in my grandparentâ€™s house when they were cleaning it out that made her think of me. I took the gift bag and opened it up. It was a wooden coat hanger. It had the name ROBERT HALL on it. The very moment I saw it, a rush of great memories came into my head and I fought back the tears of joy. I told a story at my Grandmothers funeral about how much I hated to go to Robert Hall when I was a kid. My grandmother used to take me and my brothers there to buy our church suits every year. It was the most painful event in our lives. My brothers and I rejoiced when Robert Hall clothing store closed because we thought it was over! No more having to go try on a dozen suits, no more cloths shopping with grandma, we are finally free! How lucky were we that this was the biggest problem in our lives at the time?
25 years later, I see a coat hanger from Robert Hall and think; those were the greatest days of our lives! How proud my immigrant grandmother was to dress her grandchildren because she could. For the entire night I held on to that coat hanger. I woke up this morning, hung a new coat that my wife gave me on that hanger and put it in my closet. It was around noon when I remember thinking, where did I put that check? I was walking back into the living room where my kids were opening gifts and thought to myself as I was going back in there to sit down that I would look for it later.
I understand that there are a lot of people who would give anything to have that big check. All I can think is how I would give anything to have my grandparents here for Christmas. For a brief glimmer of time in a mad period in history, in this small miniscule spot in the cosmos, for just a moment, the memory of my Grandparents and the joy they brought to my life was more valuable than anything in the whole universe and for that brief moment in time, nothing else mattered. It was all clear and easy for me to see what Christmas was all about. How important our memories are, how much love my grandparents had for us, how lucky I was to have them and to have their memories with me. How family is more important than anything in the world.
You dont have to be a Christian to enjoy the holidays. You don't have to be a Jew to understand why Hanukkah is such a blessed occasion or that the Eid is not just for Muslims. All you need to be is human and find beauty and joy where you can. Find wonderful memories all around you and hold on to them as you would clutch to life itself. Create wonderful memories for your kids and grand children. Never take for granted the people who live just to see you happy. Toys, electronics and cloths are great gifts for your loved ones, but it will be the memory of how much you love them that they will keep and remember well after the I Pod and gift cards are gone. These are the things that make all the bad things in the world fall into perspective. This is the time when we realize what in life is important. This is what the investment of great memories will yield in the future generations for your kids, their kids and so on.
It took over 40 years for me to figure out what Christmas was all about. A big fat check takes a back seat to a 25 year old wooden coat hanger and the memories it brought with it. I count myself lucky to have finally figured it out. Some folks never do. Maybe this is truly when we grow up and realize that there are more important things to life than money and possessions. You hear that all the time, but at what point do we really realize that it is the truth? Tomorrow is another day, but today is Christmas. Stop for a minute and really think about what is important to you. It might change your life, I think it has changed mine.
Christian Priests brawl at birthplace of Jesus in Bethlehem
Seven people were injured on Thursday when Greek Orthodox and Armenian priests came to blows in a dispute over how to clean the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
After the Christmas day celebrations, Greek Orthodox priests set up their ladders to clean the walls and ceilings of their part of the church, which is built over the site where Jesus Christ is believed to have been born. The Armenian priest said stay off our walls with your ladders. Then the brawl started.. Oh dear, What fools these mortals be!
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