All I Want for Christmas.
When it comes to getting ready for Christmas, I admit that I can get caught up in the frantic frenzy of holiday hustle in this season. I confess that I make my lists and try to get things crossed off in efficient order. Each year, I think there’s got to be a better way to do Christmas! I try to be more organized, plan ahead, and discard the unnecessary events and items in my world. I’m learning to let go of things that don’t matter and hold on to the people who do.
I also acknowledge that when it really comes down to it, I want, more than anything else, to experience Christmas in my heart. I want to be real about Christmas.
- All I want for Christmas is to reminisce about the things which mattered to me as a child, for those memories will help me shape this season with my own children. I remember a warm home in the coldest winter blizzards, plenty of playmates and playtime, building igloos outside, sledding with wet mittens and cold toes, and drinking homemade hot chocolate that had been simmered in an old kettle on the back burner of the stove. I remember a house that was clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy. I remember wishing for extravagant gifts and getting, instead, dolls from Goodwill with clothes homemade by an auntie; waiting for days on end, counting how many more nights I’d have to sleep until Christmas morning would finally arrive. My widowed mother didn’t stand in long lines or get up in the middle of the night to be one of the first to enter the doors for early bird specials or limited editions. She didn’t have the time or the money to purchase the latest fad or fashion. She made mistakes as a mother, and so did we as her children. Our home and household was less than perfect. We squabbled, shirked jobs, and blamed others for our wrong-doings. Yet, we were happy. So was she. We had each other, and we were loved.
That’s what I want for Christmas! I enjoy warm memories of reminiscing, and assurance that being together as a family is a memory that will outlast any wrapped package.
- All I want for Christmas, this year, is to remember the reason we celebrate: that a powerful, awesome God chose to give the best He had to offer – His only Son. That this Son came to bring peace to a world enslaved in poverty and sin. And that, in giving a gift to those who have nothing in comparison to return, He showed us how we should live, and how we should choose to give. I want to remember that this season is not about shopping, but about sharing. It is not about fighting over the last item on the shelf, but about forgiveness. This season is not about hoarding possessions for our families, but about heaping blessings on others. At this season, I never want to forget why there is this season to celebrate.
- All I want for Christmas, this year, is to go back to Bethlehem in my mind and re-visit the people and places in the nativity account. Sure, I know the story. I know about the shepherds and the wise men. I know about the wicked King Herod. I know about the angels and how they said, “Peace on earth.” I know when Gabriel visited both Mary and Joseph that the first words out of his mouth were “Fear not.” But I want to think about the people like Zachariah and Elizabeth, Anna (the older woman in the temple) and the man Simeon who acknowledged that now he was ready to die, after he had held the Christ-child. I want to recount the dreams (there were four of them) that God used to give messages to the step-father and the magi. I want to think about how it must have been that night, when the shepherds were on the hillside, watching their flocks as their fathers and grandfathers had done before them; as their sons and grandsons would do after them. I’d like to sit quietly and wonder about what it was like that night in Heaven, where the angels were waiting in the wings, waiting for Showtime when they would be privileged to announce the birth of a baby in a stable; a baby kept warm by swaddling clothes as He lay in a manger; a Baby who would forever change their world – and mine.
- I want to re-tell that story – and mine – to those who will listen. For in the re-telling, I am better able to remember, not only where I’m heading, but also the places from where I have come. In telling the story, I’m challenged to be true to it by the very way I celebrate this season.
This Christmas, I realize again that it really doesn’t matter what I receive or what I am able or unable to afford to give. All that matters,this year, is that I find Christmas in my heart.
[This article was first printed in Discover Southside, an online e-zine.]