Fifteen days until Christmas!
Maybe it’s because I’m getting older. Maybe it’s because most of the stuff I want, I clearly can’t afford, or I’d already have it. Whatever the reason, most the excitement of Christmas has shifted over the years from filling out a gift list, oogling presents under the tree, and waiting in excited anticipation, to pondering the fact that God visited us.
Don’t get me wrong. I love nearly everything about the season. I actually enjoy stringing up lights on the house in the rain. I begin playing Christmas music around Thanksgiving. (My grown daughter and I have a contest to see who plays the first carol of the seasons. This year she won—calling me around the end of July and surprising me with a holiday treat in mid-summer.) I don’t mind shopping (but I don’t like fighting for a parking space). Once I’m there, I do like the get-togethers where we meet new people or enjoy some time with people we do know. I really love watching someone open something I’ve given them, see the delight and surprise on their faces and bask in the shared love.
In the Walker home, it all typically starts Thanksgiving evening when we watch (for the umpeenth time) the Hallmark presentation of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, with George C. Scott as the sour Scrooge. The day after I untangle our boxed lights, and try to remember how I strung them up to cover the whole roofline last year. In the days that follow, we cut a tree, decorate it as a family, wrap packages and prepare our hearts.
Christmas eve is celebrated at one of our church's five services (or in my case—usually all five.) Then, the highlight on Christmas morning is opening our stuffed stockings to see what amazing, creative, little gifts someone thoughtfully gave us.
It all ends the day after Christmas when the tree goes to the dump, the lights are yanked off the house, and all the decorations are boxed up until next year. With a couple sweeps of the vacuum, all is restored to pre-Thanksgiving order. And the new year peeps around the corner.
I love it all.
But most of all, I am grateful that for once during the year, my mind deliberately muses over the birth and coming of the One who has set my heart free, the One who has won my love with His love, whom I will someday see face to face. I think about sometimes how frustrating it is to be human, to be sinful, to be so limited; and I realize that the Son of God understands it all, because He became one of us. I unwrap the gift of a relationship with Him, full of hope and power, wrapped in mercy and forgiveness, and my face brightens with delight and surprise.
The older I get, the more grateful I am for what Christmas is all about. The wrappings are really nice, but the gift is overwhelming.
May your musings this season brood over Him who came, whose love for you is priceless!
Much love to you in Christ,