I have had a lot of time to reflect and think this Christmas season. Perhaps too much. This morning as I sit in a quiet house with a beautiful tree in front of me and a beautiful view of the lake I keep going over and over this question in my head.
When I was a girl growing up in a house with three older sisters, Christmas was about ANTICIPATION! The anticipation of it all was the wonder! I remember waking up REALLY early and we could hardly wait to go in the living room to see what Santa had brought. We had a rule that we couldn’t go in without Momma and Daddy and I think the time may have been 3:00 am that we had to wait until to go get them. We could hardly wait to go see what Santa brought. I can remember waking up and watching the clock until 3:00. I am the youngest so I know that my sisters probably reached a point that their excitement for the season had waned but they always were good sports to me and played along. Then most years we would load up in the car and travel to Arkansas to see our grandparents. I loved being with cousins and Aunts and Uncles and Mammaw and Pappaw in that cold cold house in Arkansas. I remember my Pappaw getting up really early when we were there so he could warm the house up before everyone else got up. The house was heated by gas space heaters so it would take a bit to get it warm enough for everyone to start moving around a bit.
When I was a young woman, raising my own children, the anticipation was there but Christmas was more about the PREPARATION! Oh the hustle and bustle of the holiday season when you are a young mama. The shopping, the baking, the fun, the calendars, the present wrapping, the long car rides, all of it was a blur at times. I can remember being so exhausted when the season was over that I wondered if I had done it all right or not. I remember loading my babies into the car to go over the river and through the woods and trying to keep them entertained while we made these treks and wondering if I had focused too much on presents and not enough on the presence of Jesus. I would wonder if and when we would all slow down enough to remember the reason we were celebrating.
Nowadays, I still have the anticipation and the preparation. (I cannot wait to have all of my people under my roof!) But Christmas is becoming more and more about the MEMORIES. I have reflected a lot this week on days when I was younger and busier. I can remember longing for a quiet Christmas and now that I am here I realize that Christmas shouldn’t always be quiet. I truly don’t want to say all of this to be sad. I cherish my times growing up so much in my heart. I cherish the days I was a young mama and I was so tired. I cherish the times with my sisters and I cherish the days I had my Mama and Daddy to go see. I miss my grandparents and aunts and uncles. It’s really weird to realize that you are all of a sudden the older generation. Maybe it’s just a part of getting older. You can’t help but reflect on the days gone by. And you long for those days.
BUT MOST OF ALL Christmas is about JESUS! Through the ANTICIPATION, the PREPARATION and the MEMORIES! I pray that more than anything else that we will always remember the baby who was wrapped in swaddling clothes and was placed into a manger! I pray that Jesus warms our hearts even when we are excited about the times to come with family or exhausted from the preparations or reflecting on the memories of the past. I pray that Jesus will always be the central focus of whatever we do during the holidays. I love all things Christmas! I love Rudolph and Santa and red and green. I love old Christmas decorations as well as new bright shiny glittery ones. I love old Christmas movies, as well as the cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies. I pray that as we have decorated and as we celebrate and even as we start to take it all down and pack it away that we will always remember that He came to give us Hope, Peace, Joy and Love! I want to always remember the baby most of all. I want to always remember “Jesus is the Reason for the Season”. I want to sing Christmas carols old and new and I want to hold those I love close and I want to make room for new traditions and I want to hold onto the things of the past close and dear to my heart. I pray that if you are reading this that you will do the same.
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!