Here it is, Christmas Eve, and I really had no intention of doing another post until after the Christmas rush was over. But, there I was sitting on my couch, watching Christmas In Connecticut – one of my “must watch” movies of the holiday season (the original, of course) – and conversations from the past several weeks were rumbling through my brain. It seems so many people are longing for Christmas’ past…longing for the way Christmas use to feel.
I understand stand that. For many of us, the Christmas of our childhood evokes memories of joy and anticipation. What will Santa bring? The glisten of the tree. The smells from the kitchen. The warmth and laughter of friends and family. As we get older, the magic seems to disappear. We “peek behind the curtain”, so to speak. We know from whence cometh the treasures, and the burden of producing the glistening tree and the mouth watering smells falls to us. Often the gifts wrapped in silver and bows are less exciting and we stand in line for returns. It’s easy to let the burdens of “adulting” steal the joy of the holiday from us.
I think of this and then I think of several other stories I’ve heard this week… a woman whose memories of Christmas past were of alcoholic parents. No smells from the kitchen. No cookies left for Santa. The excitement she felt ONE year when she and her brother got ONE gift to share between them.
A family whose Christmas past included losing a father at Christmas and burying him Christmas day.
A man whose Christmas past was spent in a box in an alley eating a McDonald’s cheeseburger someone had thrown in the trash – a real treat for him.
It’s easy to get caught up in our traditions, in the tinsel and wrapping, the baking and Christmas carols, and forget what we’re celebrating. On the very first Christmas there was no tree, no ornaments, no gifts or wrapping. There was no Christmas ham or stockings to hang. There was only a man and a woman in a dirty stable, surrounded by braying, mooing and bleating stock. And a baby. A little baby. A baby who gave up the glory of Heaven for birth in a manager, to ultimately die on a cross for the love of you and me! And that’s what Christmas is really all about, Charlie Brown!
Merry Christmas, my friends!