This is written at 6:52am, December 24, in a quiet small living room in Dublin, CA (just outside of Oakland/San Francisco). Diana (my wife), Katy (daughter), and PJ(son) are all still asleep. It is raining outside and sounds/smells magnificent!
And what am I thinking about?
… That this is the last Christmas in my forties? Maybe. I mean — when I hear that I will be FIFTY in just 13 days (January 6, 2016), I will admit, “THAT SOUNDS OLD.” Reminds me of when I was 33 years-old and in a smelly boys restroom at South San Francisco High School. I was in one of those cramped high school restroom stalls changing into a nice tuxedo preparing for an NCBA concert band festival where we did receive ONES (highest ranking / scoring an ensemble could earn). I said to myself, “Do I want to be in this same stall seventeen years from now conducting a high school concert band at a band festival? Smelly. Cramped. Somewhat clean. Changing into a tuxedo. Is this something I ‘want’ to do?” Well, it is something I will be doing come this next year. It won’t be at South San Francisco High School, but it will be somewhere. Seventeen years later, I thought I would be a principal or some author (hey, I AM:). No. I am content making music with some incredible YOUNG ADULTS.
… That this very well could be the last Christmas we will have with one of my family members as she is fighting cancer? Maybe. I mean — when I hear “Cancer” unfortunately I don’t think “live another day.” I know… I expect lectures from all of you about “trust God,” “Positive thoughts,” “treatment of Cancer has advanced.” I appreciate the reminders. But, still, this Christmas could be the last Christmas with that someone very close to me. Certainly do want to enjoy it!
… That this is one of the last Christmases that we will have as just the four of us? Maybe. I mean — we are all growing old. We will be going our separate ways (AS IT SHOULD BE – don’t have to like it). I fully expect a Christmas just to be Diana (my wife) and me. I will do all I can to have Diana and I be with PJ and/or Katy, but in reality, that may not happen as it consistently did for the last twenty plus years as they were growing-up. Sure makes the idea that “our children are really — guests. Like guests, our children leave” seem more real. Doesn’t it?
… That there aren’t that many gifts under the tree this year? Maybe. I mean — When PJ and Katy were growing-up, OH MY GOODNESS, gifts galore! Now? A card or two with a gift card or two in the cards. Sure, there may be a box or two, but certainly not the boxes and stockings we had in 2000 when PJ was six and Katy was four.
… That we are about to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ? YES! — Today, as many of know, is the eve of more than one turning FIFTY years-old; fighting (and eventually WILL beat) Cancer; final Christmases as just the four of us; and, the number of gifts!! As cliché and corny as it is: JESUS CHRIST is the reason for us to have today, tomorrow and beyond. As a Christian, I celebrate every day, every minute, every second the birth, death, and especially Jesus’ RESURRECTION. So, when I look at today with a bunch of “maybes” or sense of sadness, I turn to my / OUR Lord and say, “Thank you Jesus! Thank You for that wonderful day in South San Francisco where Granite Bay High School Concert Band received straight ones. Thank You Jesus! Thank You, for the wonderful family member who was so and is so positively influential to my life. Thank You Jesus! Thank You, for all the wonderful Christmases Diana, PJ, Katy and I shared as just the four of us. GREAT MEMORIES! And look forward to many more as a growing family. Thank You Jesus! Thank You, for all the Christmas gifts we (Everts Family) were able to exchange and the smiles those gifts gave us. Thank You Jesus for all you give to us! Interesting… Jesus is their “simply” giving gifts to us … on HIS birthday?! Haven’t been to many birthday parties where the celebrant is not receiving gifts, but handing them out. Our Lord is amazing.
I hope WHATEVER YOU CELEBRATE and WHOMEVER ARE, you can and will take time out to say, “Thank you” for all you are blessed with or fortunate to have. Great time of the year!