I was born on Sept. 27, exactly nine months and two days after Christmas. Also, I was born with a birthmark that resembled a three-inch Christmas tree.

“You have a Christmas tree on your arm!” the kids would shout as I jumped into a pool or played in a sleeveless shirt. I was proud of my unusual birthmark because no one on this earth loved Christmas more than I.

My mother hoped my obsession with Dec. 25 might wane as I grew older. When young, I would get so excited during the holidays I would experience an asthma attack or break out in a crazy rash, making the holidays a bit difficult for her.

“Lynn, come in from the cold! You are going to make yourself sicker!” she would shout from the front door.

“But, Mama, it’s Christmas!” I would yell back, as if the holiday would save me from myself.

Much to her dismay, I just panted and itched my way through the cold, praying for snow. I would gaze into a gray winter sky looking for Rudolph’s red nose and heavenly angels turning gloom to glory.

I was despondent when the birthmark faded away after many years. I outgrew asthma, the rashes finally subsided, and Mama went to be with those heavenly angels that turned her life into glory.

The years flew by and brought children, grandchildren, joy, sadness, successes, and failures. However, nothing changed my love and excitement for Christmas.

It is the holiday that brings out the best in folks. Now there are many “Bah Humbugs” who say Christmas is too commercial, too busy, too chaotic, and too expensive. However, I believe Christmas is what each person makes it be.

My grandmother was not a wealthy woman, but she made the richest jam cakes every Christmas to give to her friends and family. Cameron, who lives down the street, makes little pumpkin bread loaves to give to all our neighbors. Our Bunko group has a party every year, and instead of giving gifts, we donate money to several charities.

It is the season when the churches are fuller, the lights are brighter, the air more expectant, and folks more giving. What is there not to love about Christmas?

I walked into Hobby Lobby on a hot July day in Georgia, and they were putting Christmas ornaments on shelves. People were shocked at the sight! July?!

Not me. The hair on my arms lifted as if a cold winter chill had seeped into my bones. You can’t celebrate the wonder of Christmas too early for this girl. Matter of fact, Christmas is all about joy and celebration.

The world was somber before the first Christmas. Life was without mercy or the understanding of a loving father, and without people realizing that miracles can and do happen.

Christmas brought us hope, salvation, and genuine pure love covered in swaddling clothes lying on a bed of straw. If I had been there, I would have decorated a tree, wrapped some presents in burlap, and told that new baby Santa was coming!

My childish exuberance has been passed down to my children and grandchildren. The holiday for our family is steeped in tradition, soaked in laughter, and topped with joy.

It is always over the top, over the money limit, and over the hills, my kids still come back to Grandma’s house to experience it.

I cook until I am bone tired. I wrap until my fingers become taped together, and I decorate until the glitter is a permanent feature in my hair.

Celebrating the Christ child should not be about how much trouble Christmas is, but instead, going to the trouble to show someone the joy of loving.

On a Christmas evening a few years ago, my granddaughter and I were outside watching an unusual sight in Georgia. Huge snowflakes fell softly from the night as if they were tiny white lace doilies floating down from heaven.

The porch door opened, and my granddaughter’s mother shouted, “Avery, come in before you catch a cold!”

“But, Mama, it’s Christmas!” she yelled, knowing that Christmas would save her from herself.

Christmas is within your heart. Let it shine this holiday and always.

Wishing all of you all a glorious Christmas Day filled with love.

Blessings, Lynn

Lynn Gendusa of Roswell is the author of “It’s All Write with Me!” Essays from my heart. She can be reached at www.lynngendusa.com.

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