Wednesday, December 22, 2004
A Christmas Like No Other
I am usually that person that willingly gets caught in the spirit of giving this time of year. Baked goods made and delivered, gifts bought and wrapped with pretty festive bows (reusable of course), house decorated, holiday music playing (lots of singing too!). . . You get the picture. It's a regular Norman Rockwell moment. I typically overdo and by the time Christmas rolls around I am exhausted. I love, love, love to give. It gives me great joy.

This year is different. A little surgery slowed me down so no baking, no delivering (or driving for that matter), decorations are courtesy of my sister, a little singing but since I am not home alone I try to keep the damage to a minimum. . . This Christmas I have been forced to view the holiday from a different perspective. I can't help but think of the story of La Befana.

The are many versions of the Italian legend of La Befana, but this is the story I was told as I remember it. On their journey to follow the star, the magi met an old woman with a broom named La Befana. La Befana wanted to join them on their journey, but wanted to finish baking her sweets and cleaning her house before she left. The magi continued on their journey and La Befana realized she should have gone with them and set out to catch up with them so she too could see the Christ child. She never found them and never got to see the Christ child. Legend has it that she continues to fly around on her broom searching for the Christ child, stopping at every child's house and leaving each of them treats. The feast of La Befana is celebrated on the eve of the Epiphany (January 6th), the day the magi visited the baby Jesus.

So rather than being caught up with my chores and the baking and missing the whole purpose of the season, I get to experience this holiday at the foot of the manger. I won't miss the Christ child nor the love he brings to all of us. Yes, this year is different in so many ways for me. While part of me longs to bake and decorate and give gifts, the message this year is that it is much more important to prepare one's heart than one's home. The greatest gift is not wrapped in a bow. It is the love that was born on Christmas day and continues to be a gift to all of us.

Written by Jeannette Vagnozzi
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Name: Jeannette
Location: Southern California, USA

This is my story about being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 39. I thought I was out of the woods, but four years late it came back. This is my quest to be a two-time survivor.

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