The other day I was watching William as he was looking out our front window at the neighbor’s house. They have one of those projector light systems and the lights were slowly swirling and changing. William’s eyes were filled with wonder and he said that it was mesmerizing. Everywhere we go, his eyes light up at Christmas trees, carols, pictures of Santa, and holiday displays. It’s wonderful to see Christmas through the eyes of a child.
Our older kids have lost a bit of that wonder. Kendall was pretty ho hum last year and said that she even slept in on Christmas day because it’s not so exciting when you’re an adult. I told Collin that he probably would just be getting a gift card from us and he was totally blase about it, saying Christmas wasn’t such a big deal anymore. And I remember last year watching Tommy, who is the eternal bright eyed optimist, sort of looking dully at the sheet sets and pots and pans that he and Hannah got (although he was pretty psyched about his “manly” shaving kit). This year he gets to start seeing it through the eyes of Elise, though she’s still a bit too young to process much of what’s going on around her.
Christmas seems to lose a bit of it’s luster when we get older, and that can make it a bit of a depressing time of year for some people. It can be a bit confusing when something that used to be so exciting just becomes sort of – not. Add that to the stresses of Christmas shopping, getting the house ready for guests or preparing for travel, and seeing those relatives that you’d rather forget were in your family, and Christmas can become downright miserable. And what a shame that is! Because at the heart of it, Christmas isn’t about the presents and lights and pomp and big choirs, it’s about something quiet and a little lonely and frightening that happened to a young couple in a manger that brought The Greatest Gift into the earth and our hearts.
This Christmas, if you are feeling a bit underwhelmed (or really overwhelmed), take a minute to take stock of the good things that you have in your life. Turn the lights off, sit with your Christmas tree lights glowing, drink some hot chocolate, and focus on the one who Loves you Unconditionally. A Charlie Brown Christmas (my favorite) begins with Charlie Brown feeling blue. The Peanuts character doesn’t know what Christmas is about but he does sense that it’s about more than presents, the commercialization of Christmas, and shiny, aluminum trees Charlie Brown’s friend, Linus, tells him that he knows the meaning of Christmas. He drags his blue blanket to the center of the stage, and with the spotlight on him, in a simple, sweet voice proclaims:
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:8-14.
This year, celebrate Christmas with a full heart knowing that we are deeply and profoundly loved. That, after all, is what Christmas is all about.