And so this is Christmas….
Time seems to pause, momentarily, on Christmas each year. Amidst the rush of living, Christmas has a calmness that is unparalleled. Children anticipating the day, adults scrambling to bake, buy, and beat the clock, for all Christmas places life on pause. Naturally, some of us have a tendency to want to press ‘repeat’ or ‘rewind’ on this day or, better yet, figure out a way to cause the ‘pause’ button to stick so we can hold onto this moment for a little while longer.
Like an 8mm movie video with no sound, I recall snapshots of Christmas as a child. I remember the crowded church filled with amazing decorations of white lights, green wreaths donned with red ribbon, tall burning candles, and bells of all shapes and sizes. I remember celebrating Christmas with my family…my siblings, my parents, my grandparents, and a few extended family members. I remember my own anticipation, anxiety, and excitement in hopes that Santa would come through the front door on Christmas Eve.
Santa often appeared in the flesh with a bag filled with carefully, beautifully wrapped packages. He always knew what I so desired and I was so thankful for whatever he so generously gave to me that it didn’t matter what was in the package. I remember playing the games we received from Santa with my family on Christmas Eve. I remember quiet moments alone playing with the toys Santa brought just for me. Christmas Day was the day to stay in pajamas all day, sort through all the new gifts and make sure all of them were opened and used, at least for a day.
Christmas, as a child, was always filled with love and joy and, yes, peace.
As an adult I see Christmas from a very different perspective. I now understand the depth and meaning of Jesus’ presence in my life and am so thankful that He was born. The love, joy, and peace He has brought to hundreds of generations is astounding and real. Desiree and I attempt the best way we know how to show our own children the significance of Christmas. Jesus is the gift.
Desiree has posted a quote on our refrigerator that reminds us to remember the optimistic vision of children, “Don’t cloud their dreams with the realities of adulthood.” As adults sometimes Christmas becomes filled with more tension and more anxiety resulting in a limits love from filling the room. Somewhere the love, joy, and peace is suppressed within us and the strain of our adult insecurities rises to snuff out the flame that the true meaning of Christmas has kindled.
On Christmas Day Dawson announced to all of us how Christmas Day was the best day of the year because we are together as family and we’re all happy. From a seven year old’s perspective, how much clearer and more insightful could the meaning of Christmas be? Like Mary and Joseph were together and happy as they welcomed their firstborn, Jesus, into the world some 2000 years ago, we are together and happy.
And so this is Christmas and what have we done? Another year older and a new one just begun…. As our ‘pause’ buttons are now back in ‘play’ mode, I want to remember those feelings of love, joy, and peace. I want those feelings to push down the tension and anxiety of the realities of adulthood. The focus of my life is Jesus and how thankful I am for the birth of our Savior. Instead of being filled with the hollow memories of the past, I look forward to what God has in store for future Christmas Days for me and my family. I know, one way or another, on each Christmas Day we will be together and we will be happy and it will be the best day of the year.