Recently, People Magazine named its Most Beautiful People for 2019. The magazine has been showcasing the most beautiful since 1990, celebrating outward beauty, yet espousing the inward beauty that everyone says is most important. Hmmm. We hear that what matters most is what’s on the inside, contrary to internet trolls, Hollywood, and society’s expectation of a perfect size, a perfect shape, a perfect house, a perfect relationship, yada yada yada.

What does that have to do with Christmas?! Indulge me as I lead to a point, I hope.

We hear, say, and teach that Christmas is in the heart; that our outward appearance, clothing, accessories, or even beards are not what make great portrayers, performers or whatever we choose to call ourselves. If we don’t hold Christmas in our hearts, and if we don’t act with integrity, it will show on the outside. It’s one of the first things we hear when we begin our own journey, and one of the first things we say to someone just starting out.

I’m looking closer at those whom we have lost across the Christmas Community. So many names. Perhaps because I was in Gatlinburg when Debra Ann became ill and passed shortly after, I’ve looked back on my own interactions with her and others who are no longer with us. I was glad I had a chance to say a quick hello to her and exchange a smile. Thinking of all those who have passed reminds me of how many wonderful hearts have moved on, and I pray that we not only remember them, but learn from them.

Here’s an odd analogy. Remember the movie and TV show The Highlander? A tale about an immortal who battles other immortals, and whomever wins the fight gets the other’s power and lives to fight another day. The power was never lost when someone died, but transferred to the one remaining to make that person stronger and better.

Where do the Christmas hearts go of those we’ve said goodbye to? Do we let their love and passion for Christmas fade with them, or do we take it inside us to make us stronger, more compassionate, more tolerant, more loving, more ‘Christmas?’

There is a lot of ‘heart’ they left for us to absorb. They don’t need it where they are now; they are filled beyond imagination. They entrusted us with their Christmas hearts, and we can honor them by making sure their hearts for Christmas become a part of ours. We will have no other choice but to grow an even stronger community. Our future has never been brighter; our future has never been more inspired.

Deanna Golden