As a child Christmas was excitable for obvious reasons.....presents! Of course, growing up I was taught the underlying messages of what Christmas actually meant such as: Jesus's birth, being thankful, the joys of giving, and spending time with family and friends. However, these important meanings behind the season did not alter my careful planning of much desired items I expected to receive. I didn't always get what I wanted but I was sure to guilt "Santa Clause" to make certain I received a good Christmas morning. It was exciting to know that for one day of the year, I was the boss and my order would be served just the way I liked it. I enjoyed the Christmas tree, the light shows around town, the fattening Christmas food delights, even the snow to play in but nothing made Christmas more complete than knowing that Christmas morning meant MY Christmas presents.
As the saying goes...." All good things must come to an end", my Christmas reality check appeared when I became an adult. I was now an equal with my fellow adult family members and my new found job duties were to give more than to receive.
Talk about a painful transition. Gifts now were of necessity not desire and an unspoken responsibility of making Christmas magical for all those under the age limit. Not wanting to conform to traditions, I diligently set out to make or buy more meaningful gifts that played on emotions, so I would in return receive favor and gifts of equal or greater value for myself. Christmas was now like poker. If I wanted to keep my Christmas magical, I needed to up the ante. However, no one tells you that as soon as you have children of your own that the game changes from Texas Holdem to GO FISH! As a new found parent I adapted to parenthood and delighted in making and buying Christmas magic for my kids.
I don't know when it happened but after years of receiving only paper machte gifts of love from the kids or $20 gift cards here and there, I finally am so excited about Christmas knowing that I will not receive one single present for Christmas this year. I feel as though by not concentrating on presents, I have discovered a new kind of thrill about the entire season...... ( No, I was not visited by three ghosts!).
Christmas now is a feeling. There is something magical about the feeling of seeing fresh snow glittering with twinkling Christmas lights, shopping for even groceries humming to the sounds of Christmas tunes, secretly duct taping a present over and over again because of how special the gifts meaning is to someone else, or even the anticipation of Christmas dinner knowing that everyone can finally be together and how badly you wish you could see them everyday not just once a year.
Admit it as an adult, you've discovered why Christmas is special. It's about love. We love more, we care more, we appreciate more, and joyfully share our love for one another during this season. As a Christian, you appreciate the greatest present you've ever received long before you knew you needed him. Christmas itself is our gift and reminder of how much love we have in this world and an example of the love we are capable of giving one another. It took a lot of growing up for me to understand this but it will take much more to continue it. Joyful smiles or giving to each other should not be limited to just one season of the year. I want to delight in sharing love, compassion, and goodwill to all throughout the year because Christmas lives inside of me. It always has. It just took me awhile to understand that it's not what is given in this life but why it is given. This Christmas season join me in not delighting only in giving and receiving but being and sharing the gift of love everyday for many years to come!
Merry Christmas Everyone!