Monday, December 3, 2007


"Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents." - Jo March (Louisa May Alcott)

CHRISTMAS IS ABOUT GIFTS I just finish reading few pages of Sarah Ban Breathnach book entitled "Simple Abundance." I found her thoughts about Christmas gifts very interesting and inspiring. Let me share some of them with you. She wrote....."Jo's right. Remember when she grumbled about not having any money for presents in the famous movie Little Women? Christmas is about gifts. Always has been. But we feel uncomfortable with the emphasis on gimme, gimme, gimme. Buy, buy. buy. Charge, charge, charge."
She also added the role of gifts in the Christmas story. She said, "those gifts were wrapped in miracles, which is probably why we can't find them at the malls, and mail-order catalog."

Here are the gifts that Sarah creatively worded from the account of the first Christmas story:
1. First gift was from God himself-unconditional love by sending his beloved son Jesus to become a baby and born on a manger.
2. Next gift came from Mary, a frightened Jewish teenager. Her Christmas present was selflessness. The complete surrender of ego and will to bring Heaven down to earth.
3 .The gift of her bewildered fiancee Joseph, were trust and faith. He trusted that Mary wasn't pregnant with another man's child, he believed that it was a Divine Plan.
4. The baby Jesus brought forgiveness, second chance, and great salvation.
5. The angel's gift were tidings of comfort and joy, and peace, the reassurance that there was nothing to fear, so rejoice.
6. The shepherd boy's gift was generosity. His favorite lamb for the baby's birthday present.
7. The innkeeper's wife's gifts were compassion and charity: a warm, dry, safe-place for the homeless family to stay, her coverlet to wrap the new mom and little one, a meal for Joseph, the donkey's fresh hay.
8. The Magi (three kings) from the east traveled and on camel's back were treasures -gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Oh, yes! Christmas is all about gifts. Nothing but gifts. Gifts that transform the ordinary into the miraculous. Gifts that nurture the souls of both the giver and the receiver. Now that we've accepted that giving gifts are the center of Christmas, deciding what to give and how to get it comfortably and affordably deserves some thinking. I am glad I didn't rush out the day after Thanksgiving to do holiday shopping with the rest of the world. I got sick with bad and terrible cold and aching throat. Actually this year, I am very healthy and full of energy. With so many travels, surprisingly, I was never sick away from home. Somehow this cold bug loves me so much, and afflicted me for more than a week. It was a blessing in disguise because I was able to rest and reflect on the spiritual side of Christmas. While recovering I was able to think of what gifts are more meaningful to me. Of course, my personal choice are artistic gifts like my paintings and other handcrafted stuffs. I don't give my paintings away to everybody but for few special people and other charities that I care about.
A MIRACLE GIFT Let's go back to Christmas 1997. Back then, I didn't have a blog yet. I have many beautiful Christmas memories and I love to tell this old Christmas story about our first grandson, Simon. Here's the story behind this Christmas Tree. It was a special Christmas Tree that I specially decorated with mini bottles, diaper pins, rattles, tiny gifts in blue and pink (not a typical Christmas color) like red or green. The tree top was a silver basket with a baby sleeping on it. This tree was place in the hospital beside Simon. He was a miracle baby and truly a Christmas gift from God. He was born a preemie on September 2,1997, at 23 6/7 week old (almost 24 weeks). At birth he was only 1.5 lbs. or 680 grams. He was born at Seton Medical Center in Daly City and transferred to CPMC in San Francisco, Ca., six hours later. He stayed in a warm, heavenly place named Hospital Incubator for four months. And also he spent his first Christmas not in a manger but in the cozy hospital tiny white crib (in neo-natal wing) with angelic nurses and compassionate doctors. He came home to his dad and mom the day after Christmas. Since my hubby and I live in So. California we didn't get to visit him in the hospital on Christmas Day. After Christmas we drove to San Francisco for eight hours to see this miracle baby. No camels could take us there faster than eight hours. We could fly but we had to deliver so many gifts from good shepherds like aunties and uncles. And so we drove our car loaded with Christmas gifts for baby Simon. Simon turned 10 years old last September. This Christmas will be his 10th Christmas. WOW!
AFTER-CHRISTMAS (1997) One of my favorite Christmas memories. This photo was taken in San Francisco, California, where my eldest son lived at that time. A little bit of a "manger scene." Our first grandson Simon was wrapped in blue blanket. He just came home from the hospital after fighting for his life for four months inside the incubator. At four months old, he looked like a newborn baby. This was his first Christmas on earth. Oh first Christmas as a grandma. I couldn't believe this. And my husband's first Christmas as a grandpa. On the right side is my eldest son Rodney, the father of Simon. This was his first Christmas as a dad. That Christmas, I gave him this beautiful oil painting of the "Golden Gate Bridge." The Golden Gate Bridge is an awesome engineering wonder to behold. I know Rodney will always think of me every time he sees my painting on their living room.
FROM MOM WITH LOVE Another view of the Golden Gate Bridge. My son Rodney is also very artistic. He is an information technology specialists but also a computer -graphic artists. He loves painting and sculpture. He gives me lots of honest compliments and positive suggestions to improve my art. You can view his latest sculptures on:

GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE IN SAN FRANCISCO This is a lovely page that I cut out from a calendar. My inspiration for the painting above. I copied and painted it meticulously by hand like old masters used to do. It is not what others call "original" but today not many artist can copy the real thing by hand. I tried to paint Golden Gate Bridge as realistically as shown on the photo.

TREASURED GIFT For me a gift of art is one of the most meaningful gifts I can give my family and special people in my life. I am sure it will never be returned or exchanged after Christmas is over. It will be treasured FOREVER. Believe me.