by Peggy Jo Stanley

As the sun slowly peaks above the horizon, it reveals a winter wonderland. A white blanket of snow gracefully covers the landscape, bringing a sense of cleansing, a sense of a "new" day. Christmas lights are beaming their bright colors, some steadily, some flashing on and off, and others dancing around chasing one another. As all the different colors, sizes, shapes and forms add beauty to the earth by being different, so do we; not by being the same, but by each being herself. May your spirit illuminate our dark world with your uniqueness, your specialness and preciousness, and by doing so add beauty and color. From chimney tops you can see smoke billowing, the yuletide logs are burning in the fireplace. You can smell roasting chestnuts mixed with pine. Just as fire brings warmth to the room, may you feel the warmth of friendship in your heart bringing comfort and dissipating the feeling of loneliness. Flickering off in the distance are candles, filling the air with hollyberry, vanilla, and pine scents. May you realize by living your life (being you), you add your sweet fragrance to the earth. Of coarse no Christmas is complete without the Christmas tree. An evergreen tree reminding us of growth. The growth resulting from being in recovery, working our program. The growth accomplished by working through and grieving our past, and learning to reparent ourselves. Replacing the lies with truth; bringing new life - growth. Evergreen represents ever-lasting - everlasting love - a gift which is free when freely given - a gift which keeps on giving. Looking at the ornate tree you follow the garland as it wraps around, feeling safe arms giving you safe hugs, holding you through the scary times; holding you through the lonely times. A glimmer of hope is given (to hang on too) as you see the tinsel glistening. Placed under the tree are presents wrapped up with a ribbon and bow of self-love, binding up your broken heart and nurturing the wounded child within. Bells are ringing out proclaiming healing, wholeness, love and security. The song (MY SONG), which had been silenced through abuse, is finding its voice. As each of us finds the courage to sing our songs, together we form a heavenly chorus with beautiful melodies, bringing harmony, peace on earth, and joy to the world. As the day closes, stars sparkle, illuminating the darkness, pointing the way to wholeness, to serenity. Echoing through the silence are the voices of our friends saying, "Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night."