Blog Article 

 Christmas Wishes 

Picture of Dr. Al Dirschberger

Dr. Al Dirschberger

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The tradition of gift giving has been tied to the birth of Jesus and the gifts given to the baby Jesus by the Biblical Magi.  Likewise, the story of Saint Nicholas, who was a fourth century Christian Bishop and gift giver, slowly became an integral part of the Christmas holiday celebration. For many centuries, gift giving took place on December 6th around Saint Nicholas Day or early January after New Year’s Eve.  The popularity of the custom grew after the 1823 poem “The Night Before Christmas” and the 1843 novella “A Christmas Carol”. By the end of the 19th century, Christmas Eve replaced early December or January as the most common date for gift giving in western cultures. With the Christian season lasting twelve days according to the liturgical calendar of Christian Churches, gifts are given on Christmas Day, the 12th night.

Growing up, the anticipation of opening gifts was exhilarating. So much so that we would sneak out in the middle of the night to try to get a glimpse of Saint Nicholas, aka Santa Claus, and peak at all the beautifully wrapped treasures under the tree. We eagerly listened for noises on our roof top and a sighting of the red suit.  The wonderful gift of spirit is in each of us. 

As I have grown to adulthood, I am blessed to recognize my five most precious gifts. Although I did not receive them on Christmas and each one came in a different shape and size, I celebrate them every day and thank the Lord on the holiest day, December 25 Christmas Day, that I have them in my life. Each gift so unique and pure, gifts I am grateful for every day of my life. My children! 

My oldest daughter, who from an early age knew she wanted to be an educator, will always have a special place in my heart. The first born, the first “da da”, the first to walk, ride a bike, the first to go to school, graduate from college, have a boyfriend, get married, to bring two beautiful grandchildren into the world, and yes, the first diaper I had to change.  From her days as a singing flower when she was taking dance lessons, to being a bossy teacher to her brothers and sisters in the basement playing school, to a beautiful grown woman and unbelievably remarkable mother- she epitomizes the word daughter. A beautiful woman I am able to call my daughter.

My eldest son is so similar, yet different. His quiet demeanor and humble nature have made him a pillar of strength as a man. He is so caring, understanding and authentic in every way. An avid sports fan and hockey player, he once asked me what I wanted for my birthday when he was young playing travel hockey. I said how about you score a goal for me! Not only did he score, his goal won the championship game. As an adult, he continues to amaze me with his generosity, love and compassion. He is not only my son, but an inspiration. A wonderful man I am able to call my son.

My middle child could not be more different, but reflect the same beautiful qualities as her siblings. She is outgoing, extremely optimistic and positive, and adventurous. When she was little, she would walk up to strangers and ask their names and how they were doing. Not much has changed as an adult. She is confident, energetic, and lights up any room she is in.  

She is strong in her convictions, always a champion of the underserved and discriminated populations within the world. Whether it be school, working, family, relationships, she puts forth her full effort. She has a zest for life. Her enthusiasm and love of life is contagious. As she would say, “I choose to be a positive Polly, not a negative Nancy.” A beautiful woman I am able to call daughter.

Parents and their children get compared to each other on a regular basis. I am often told that my fourth child – my youngest daughter and I are so similar. Well, I couldn’t ask for a better compliment. To be compared to her is a blessing. She is a combination of a fierce competitor and a loving and compassionate individual. As my little softball catcher, she has been able to manage a game with ease and translate that skill into managing anything she does with ease. She has her older sisters’ vision and zest for life and her brothers’ strength.  She is my traveler who loves to see the world. Spain, England, France, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands have all been conquered with her adventurous nature to see the world. From the time she was an ice skater to today, she demonstrates the grace and desire of a true champion. A beautiful woman who I am able to call my daughter.

My youngest child and son, the baby of the family has had the opportunity to have four tremendous siblings. Although he is so similar in many ways, he has his own wonderful qualities. A natural born leader, a highly athletic individual. He has the smoothness of great hockey players on the ice and the tremendous power at the plate of MLB sluggers. He is so humble about his skills, yet so encouraging to his teammates. He lights up any room he walks into. His smile is so contagious. He is such a joy to be around. His positive attitude brightens anyone’s day. He has grown into such a caring young man. He has so much to offer life, a wonderful man I call my son.

From the beginning of celebrating Christmas with gift giving, the tradition has brought together the joy and happiness of families. The material gifts may change from year to year. But from biblical times to today, it is nice to know that from one Christmas to another, one thing will never change. We all will have our family and will always be loved.

All five of my children represent the best qualities in life and have given me the greatest gift of all, being the proudest man alive. The ability to call them my children. The most loving, caring and beautiful children – who needs material items when I have the greatest gift of all! I do have a blessed life and dedicate the wonderful spirit of the season to my children.  I love you all! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Love Dad.

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