Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Day, 2007

Christmas has been awkward for me for a number of years now. My Dad died late on Christmas Eve in 1993 and remembering the loss of one so close to me has often dampened my spirits. The previous two Christmases have been particularly difficult, though I don’t know why.

This year was different. I thought a lot about Dad, even had a wonderful dream a couple nights ago about both him and Mom (she died in 2001). I was grateful for them both, knowing the true gifts they gave me and my three sisters can never be taken away. Two specific things probably helped the more positive spirit.

First, Gretchen and I shifted our shopping attention this year and focused on gifts to charities we believe do a good job of addressing issues of poverty. The Heifer Project, Compassion International, and BOGO Solar Powered Light are three we found compelling. We gave money we normally spend on gifts to each of them in honor of a number of family members. It was a cool to see their reactions when we told them of the gift. We don’t need more stuff; many others do. We’re trying to connect with groups delivering help effectively.

Our spirit was also buoyed with news our son David is on his way home from Iraq, having completed his (extended) 2nd tour of duty. He is in Kuwait at the moment and should be back with his wife at his home base in Colorado Springs in two days time. He’ll be here with us on January 8, which is when we’ll truly celebrate Christmas.

I’m also thankful for you, this diverse collection of people who like to run, write about running, comment about running and see how running connects us as people. Thank you for being a more-significant-than-you-might-think part of my life. I truly appreciate it.

So, at the end of Christmas Day, 2007, I simply say thank you. And, from the bottom of my heart, I wish you a very Merry Christmas.


Backofpack said...

It's so good to hear David is on his way home. I can only imagine the joy you must feel. Merry Christmas, indeed!

Ed said...

Merry Christmas, Joe. It's fantastic that your son is on his way home. I hope he gets a break from overseas deployments for a while. They work those poor kids so hard.

Fantastic ideas regarding Christmas giving, too. Good charities, all. We were pleasantly surprised to receive word that some money was given in our name to Save Darfur. Frankly, we wish that more on our Christmas lists would do that rather than give us unwanted, unneeded junk. [Many good gifts this year, but there's always some stuff that disappoints.]

Cheers, and stay healthy.

Wes said...

Joe, I hope you had a blessed day! That is such great news!!! You continue to impress me with your spirit. I keep hoping some of that goodness will continue to rub off on me :-)

Have a great week, my friend...

Darrell said...

Such good news about David. January 8 will be a day of celebration for sure at the Ely household. Another young man, Matt O, that our small group has held up in prayer was able to make it home from his tour on December 23.

I appreciate your selflessness in Christmas gift giving. I'm honored to have you as a friend.

All the best for 2008!

David said...

Hear hear. Good news abounds at the Ely estate.

Great that David's coming home. I can remember the feelings I had in 2005 for the same occasion and it can trump all manner of blues.

Enjoy the extended holidays.

crossn81 said...

Merry Christmas Joe! The gift giving ideas are excellent. I did that a few years ago, other adults appreciated, my siblings weren't so excited about getting a soccer ball that wasn't really theirs!

Enjoy your upcoming celebration!!

Sarah said...

That's great news about David's homecoming! Hurrah! : )

WADDLER26.2 said...

Merry Christmas, Joe. Wonderful news about your son. That's the best present ever.