Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Patricia Chiappa , Author of 72 Inspirational Books, Reflects on "What Christmas Means To Me!"

Christal Cooper 798 Words

Inspirational Writer/Novelist Patricia Chiappa:
What Christmas Means To Me!

Growing up, we always said Merry Christmas not Happy Holidays in my household. Christmas was a time that my family got together and not only exchanged gifts but memories. You see, we didn't always have the money to buy each other gifts. We didn't always have a six-foot perfectly trimmed tree. If I have to be honest, most years, when I was growing up, we celebrated around a Charlie Brown Christmas tree with one or maybe two gifts. We ate a turkey donated by the Goodwill and we were Happy!

Happy, because as we sat around the table on mismatched chairs we had each other. We had an unlimited supply of love. We had faith that no matter how hard life was at the time, that God walked by our side.

We had that special kind of Christmas magic in our hearts, the kind that makes you see every stranger that passes you on the street as a friend, the kind that made my little brother Brian and I believe in flying reindeer, a jolly old ST. Nick , and that a man named Scrooge was transformed by God's love.

We had a hope that war would end and that the world would forever live in peace. We had gratefulness also. We were grateful to be alive, we were grateful to be with each other, we were grateful for the little blessings we had.
Christmas, what does it mean to me? Well Christmas to me means love. We have a traditional thing we do on Midnight Christmas Eve. My grandfather started this tradition. Every year he would buy a small birthday cake for Jesus. At midnight, we would light one candle on the cake and sing "Happy Birthday." That small candle would remind us that Jesus was the light that came into this dark world; that the very first gift of Christmas was love.

Christmas to me has always meant love. It is the one time of the year that the whole world stops. In silence we look into our heart and souls and embrace the rest of the world. We reach out to those who are hurting, lonely, sad, ill, homeless, poor, cold and weak.

Those who stand on the front lines fighting in wars take that one day of the year to call a truce and forget about what they are fighting about for a while.

Families, maybe some family members who don't talk all year long, come together on that day out of the year to say "I love you."

Christmas to me also means Hope. Hope that the little Baby in the manger will save all souls from the darkness; that those who not yet know Him will find him as I did. Hope that all of the world will remember how to love not just that Baby but love one another as that Baby loved us.

Christmas to me means forgiveness. There are many times a Christmas song will come on the radio, and the lyrics of that song will make you think of a person, maybe someone that you had a fight with or haven't talk to in a while. Maybe that song moves you enough to make you pick up the phone and call that person. Or drop by to see them. Maybe the spirit that embraces the season, the spirit of love moves your soul to be a little softer , kinder, and more gentle.

Christmas to me means kindness, faith, charity, love, laughter, dreams, family, friends, love and light.  To be honest it's hard for me to just pick one thing about Christmas that means the most to me because Christmas is the season of all those things and more.

So to sum it all up, as an adult I celebrate the real reason for the season and the reason for celebrating His birth. The Bible says we are lost and separated from God, but Jesus Christ came to bring us back. Everyone has sinned against God and is far away from His presence. But by profiting from the gift of God’s grace, all of us would be saved.  Ephesians 2:8 says, ``For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of ourselves; it is the gift of God``.

So, Christmas to me is restoring the peace of the world. It brings hope and gives a new lease of life. It means a time to reconcile and submit ourselves completely to Jesus. It means a time to help the poor and needy, share the joys and pains of loved ones. Let’s forget everything else this season and bring Jesus and His teachings at the center, so that this Christmas turns out to be the most joyous celebration ever.

*Patricia Chiappa hs written 72 inspirational books; her most recent Now That’s A Spicy Meatball – Recipes And Stories From My Grandmother’s Kitchen

Photograph Description and Copyright Information

Photo 1
Patricia Ann Chiappa

Photo 2
Screen shot of Charlie, Linus, and the “Charlie Brown Christmas Tree’
Attributed to Charles Schultz
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 3
Patricia’s dining room
Copyright granted by Patricia Chiappa

Photo 4
Brian and Patty
Copyright granted by Patricia Chiappa

Photo 5
Jacket cover of Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
Attributed to Robert May
Fair Use Under the United States Copyright Law

Photo 6
Santa Claus aboard his sleigh on a holiday train in Chicago, Illinois.
Copyright granted by Douglas Rahden
November 23, 2012

Photo 7
Illustration from The Christmas Carol
From an 1933 Children’s book
Public Domain

Photo 8
Grandparents Helen and Fred Leudeman and parents Audrey and Bernie Leudeman. 
Copyright by Patricia Leudeman Chaippa.

Photo 9
Happy Birthday Jesus Cake

Photo 10
The poor on Wentworth Street, Whitechapel
Attributed to Gustave Dore
Public Domain

Photo 11
The Christmas Day truce of 1914, showing German and British soldiers socializing

Photo 12
Ferdinand Georg Walduller –
A Traveling Family of Beggars is Rewarded by Poor Peasants on Christmas Eve
Public Domain

Photo 13
17th Century Painting of Baby Jesus in the manger
Public Domain

Photo 14a
Silent Night Chapel Picture of Josef Mohr

Photo 14b
Portrait of Franz Xaver Gruber
Attributed to Sebastian Stief in 1846
Public Domain

Photo 14c
The Christmas song Stille Nacht, autograph (ca. 1860) by Franz Xaver Gruber (1787–1863). Photographed by de:Benutzer:Mezzofortist.
Public Domain

Photo 15
Victorian-aged painting of a family celebrating Christmas
Attributor unknown
Public Domain

Photo 16
The Birth of Christ, Federico Barocci, 1597
Mary, the new mother, is unable to drag her gaze away from the miracle that is her baby; Joseph, the elated father, pulling visitors in to see his child, surely the most wonderful thing in the universe; and the calm ox and donkey, who look as if they have seen it all before.
Public Domain

Photo 17
Jacket cover of Now That’s A Spicy Meatball:  Recipes And Stories From My Grandma’s Kitchen 

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