Monday, December 29, 2014

The Wonder of Christmas

Another year of Christmas memories, of togetherness and love and family, has been tucked away in our hearts. All the glitter and excitement of the past month is over.  The day after Christmas was a 50 something degree day and when you live in central Illinois, you seize that unusual occurrence to bust a move to take down the outside lights when your hands won't freeze off.     The next morning was also garbage pick up day. With all that balmy sunshine factored in, we made haste to get all the boxes and mountains of discarded wrapping paper out to the end of the drive, lest we trip over them in the garage for a whole week.  The Christmas music has been tucked away for another year and to be honest, I'm not sad.  I confess that, while I treasure the true meaning of Christmas, Christmas music is not my favorite. I think it's because it starts playing in November and, in my opinion, there aren't enough Christmas songs worthy to be played over and over and over for a month straight.  So I wasn't exactly sad to wake up the next morning to "Amazing Grace, My Chains are Gone" playing on my favorite radio station.  The only tangible evidence that Christmas was here are a few new gadgets, sweaters and socks, a smattering of left over cookies that probably won't get eaten, and the snow village, which gains the right to another month or two by nature of winter. 

The morning after, Jamee said,  "I most love Christmas two weeks before."  I agree with her.  All the sparkle, the happiness, the gift giving, the do-something-nice-because-it's-Christmas, the humble spirit at seeing the babe in the manger seems to climax a couple of weeks before the actual day.

There's no doubt that children bring a certain wonder to the Christmas season.  We have a little one in our home but Kruz doesn't get it.  He has no comprehension of what Christmas is all about, he never once tried to grab at the tree or tear paper from the presents. He wasn't captivated by baby Jesus in the manger scene.  He wasn't thrilled with the idea of tearing open the crinkly paper, even though he did like most of what was inside. His lack of enthusiasm hurts a little  but we're working on all those areas of development and maybe next year we'll see that spark of wonder in his little boy eyes.  But Christmas Eve was filled with other little people who did understand and I was able to get a glimpse of all that wonder through their eyes.

I asked my great niece, "what do you want for Christmas?" Her face lit up with wide eyes and a beaming smile as she answered "ballerina slippers."  Ahhhh...........of course. My heart tugged, wondering if my own sweet little girl would have wanted ballerina slippers. I know I would have bought them for her if she did.  I know also that our Christmas visit to her grave, which has become one of my dearest Christmas traditions, has to be enough but never will be.  I was the recipient of several pairs of little arms around my neck in soft Christmas hugs and that helps to ease the ache some.

Christmas day was filled with good smells, over full bellies and happy chatter as we all stayed right here at home. That staying home on Christmas day is a new tradition and one that we all seem to appreciate.  We took our time opening gifts and enjoyed a large, late breakfast,which we had prepared the day before. Moise enjoyed a longer than normal shower, his favorite part of the day, and Kruz stayed in his PJs until supper time.

 I grabbed a walk outside with my sister, who lives next door, because the weather was fabulous and her pilot husband was somewhere in the air on Christmas Day.  There was no stress, no pressure to go or do or be.  That, in itself, is a priceless gift.  Around the dinner table, the chattering stopped, the world grew quiet and peaceful as Grant read the Christmas story from the Bible.   In that moment, hearing my sons man voice read of the birth of our Lord, I was achingly aware of how blessed I am and how awesome God is.  But I am blessed every day and God is always awesome and the true meaning of Christmas -- Christ, the child/man -- should not be celebrated once a year, but every day of our life.  In our hearts, in our actions, in everything we do.

 God is good, all the time.

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