Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Christmas Child
Behold a virgin will conceive and bring forth a son,
they shall call his name Emmanuel....

I love the sights and sounds of Christmas. The air has a bit of a nip to it, (in Colorado anyway), people are decorating their homes with lights and greenery and all kinds of whimsical lawn art. Anticipation is growing as everyone (well, most everyone) makes plans to be somewhere with family and friends, discussing gift exchanges, holiday parties and what they're supposed to bring to the meal among other things. You get to put up the tree and pull out memories with each ornament. You get to watch holiday movies and listen to yuletide songs on the radio. The world seems a bit gentler, a bit less hurried, or that could just be my waning eyesight (I'll probably see it different after Black Friday).



I love Christmas.

I love the smell of cinnamon, pine, pumpkin, turkey and peppermint. I love lights that color the December night. But while I look forward to the season and I kind of dread it too.

That probably sounds terrible. But it's true.

I love putting out the decorations, I dread having to pack them away. (Maybe that's why the lights are still hanging on the eaves of my house from last year.)

I love getting together with family and friends, I dread the goodbyes, especially if they've traveled from afar and have to leave. And then there's the family squabbles that manage to arise.

I love sending out cards and sentiments, I dread having to prepare the letters and sentiments I so love to send. I wonder if anyone reads them or even cares.

I love the Christmas commercials, you know the ones that tug on your heart strings, I try to forget they want to tug on my purse strings as well.

Christmas is Special, it's wonderful. It's Christmas.

And strangely, if I'm honest the enjoyment and wonderment of the day gets lost in translation.

Sometimes I long for the simpler days, when I was the child with the wild-eyes and holiday wishes. When I ripped into the packages I wasn't too worried about who had to clean up the paper, bows and packaging shrapnel that would be strewn about my house.

I didn't have to get up early to put in the turkey or spend the day putting the finishing touches on a meal then watch all my hard work be devoured within minutes.

But that's when I was a child, that was a long time ago. (Or maybe just yesterday.)

Perhaps that's where my trouble lies. I have allowed the years to distort the beauty of what Christmas really means.

Christmas needs a touch of moonbeam, a dash of nonsensical, and a dollop of whimsy.


Christmas needs wonder. Christmas needs a CHILD.

For my inner child's own good, I recite verses like...

When I was I child I thought like a child, but when I grew up, I put away childish things...

All the while forgetting...

A little child shall lead them or Christ said to bring the children to him.

But children are messy, children act stupid, I tell myself, and in so doing, I've taken the very gift of Christmas and boxed it with cynicism, packed it with grownup resolve, wrapped it with whys and wherefores, tied it with ribbons of fear and vulnerability and tagged it with a warning "to open could cause dire consequences to your psyche". Then I hid it away so no one could open it.

No one can touch the child within.

Maybe it's time to open the box. To release the child God so lovingly created.

But where does one begin?

It's allowing yourself to share
                                                         
    A Prayer





A  Dream.






 A Memory




It's putting one foot in front of the other, listening to the symphonic melodies of snow crunching beneath your overgrown snowboots or the swish of your legs rubbing together as you waddle along in the mounds of padding and warmth of your snowsuit.

It's sticking out your tongue and catching a snowflake or letting your tongue get caught on an icicle. Or perhaps believing you will not shoot your eye out with that Red Rider BB gun.

It's allowing yourself to inhale the crisp air of winter's night, let it paint your cheeks and neck pink and feel the exhilaration as you exhale your warm breath and paint the night in return.




It's taking a moment to stare across fields of winter white, of diamonds on snow and see a canvas for snow angles and not just something you need to shovel.








It's waiting on a Judean hillside, when you know you should be tending your sheep because excitement as tangible as breath charges the air. And you know something amazing is about to happen. Then heaven resounds with a chorus of praise, and a star break the shadows with Glory.




It's following a star, knowing each step will bring you closer to destiny, to wisdom, even though some might call you a fool with stars in your eyes.



It's reaching out for the hand of the Father, letting his touch ignite the warmth in your numbed hands and chilled heart. It's feeling the sensation of being alive and knowing that to follow in his footsteps will take you on a beautiful journey. You're at first hesitant, there are too many unknowns.




But your heart is yearning, aching to follow, so you move your feet, skipping to find the rhythm til your steps match his...

Because you know you'll find the Child at the end of the journey.

And perhaps you'll remember what Christmas is all about.

And perhaps you'll believe...

Maybe my little memory will help you on your journey.

One Christmas Eve, many moons ago, while tucked in a dark cellar, in a bed with my sisters and cousins, I remember getting awakened by the tinkle sleigh bells, and thumps that sounded in my child ears like hoof beats on the roof of my grandparent's house.

"You hear that?" someone said, their voice heavy with fear and breathless wonder.

The noise continued with more bells and reindeer snorts, and a few ho, ho, hos. Squeals echoed the cellar.

"Could it really be reindeer? Was it really Santa?" We wanted to know, but were too scared of the spiders in the cellar to get out of bed and see.

When the noise finally stopped, I lay there with my heart rioting in my skull. Anxious to find out what made the noise that disturbed my slumber.

When Christmas morning peeked through the slit in the coal bin cover, we were up. I fell in with the rest of my excited bunk mates as we headed outside in our pajamas to investigate.

There in the snow, were what looked like reindeer prints and sleigh tracks.

My child mind didn't connect that those were supposed to be on the roof. Nor did I find it strange that a gazillion other foot prints dotted the snow around the spot where the sleigh had landed in the driveway. In Child like faith, I believed.

This Christmas I pray you take the journey. This Christmas I hope you find the Child.

The one within. The One who was born to die.

***Share some of your moments of Christmas wonder and whimsy.  (Dirty, profane, comments will be erased) Leave a comment from  now - Dec. 11 and jot down your email address, (make sure to write out  at and dot )  for a chance to win one of  two $20 dollar gift cards to Targets.

23 comments:

StephB said...

Tina, wow, what a wonderful post about the "power" of Christmas and how the holiday touches us all in unique ways. As a child, I always Christmas. In fact, I see that same childlike anticipation in my 7 year old son, Andrew and it melts my heart. Nowadaways, I don't necessarily dread it, but I know I have to work hard to make it special for my kids and I worry if I will have enough time to make it happen for them.

I really don't have a specific memory, if anything, I look forward to each Christmas now, to seeing Andrew pick through the Advent calendar, I look forward to putting up the Christmas ornaments on the tree with him, (and this year little Joe helped) I look forward to watching my sons tear open their gifts on Christmas morning.

You're so very right - Christmas needs a child.

Smiles
Steph

lollipops said...

Beautiful post, Tina. Christmas is my favorite holiday - always has been. I don't know where to start with my favorite Christmas memory. I was an after Christmas baby. I was a slightly before Christmas bride. When my first son was born, there was that magical Christmas. There was the Christmases spent up north with lots of snow - big beautiful flakes coming down on Christmas day. The Christmases spent with my mom and dad (both in Heaven now.) The Christmases spent with my aunts and uncle... The Christmases when our family was gifted beyond belief. The first Christmas after I was dianosed with breast cancer--and now my first Christmas as a survivor... Watching the wonder in the youngest of my five children's eyes. Oh, its all magical...

lollipops said...

I forgot to leave my email.
Laura.... vernetlh(at)yahoo(dot)com

Michelle said...

Tina,
I always love how you write, thank you!
here's my blog sorry for the length, and mistakes!!
I don't believe my Christmas's have gotten better or worse over the years, I think I view them differently..let me re-phrase that I know I view them differently! It is not about the gifts,oh don't get me wrong I love gifts as much as the next person, especially when my sweetie of a husband buys me jewelry. The expensive kind...I digress!
I have discovered alot about myself, the older I get. I am not so much into the Hype, as you stated.But I do enjoy seeing the looks on peoples faces at the beauty of Christmas, that removes the everyday Ho-Hum , blah... did I really write that?
The best Christmas ,I 've discovered for me is loving people...My Childlike faith is this... I want to see People come to know this one special Baby Boy, who didn't have to come, who didn't have to leave the side of the One who loved Him the most,who didn't have to do what He did. But He did it out of such an immense love for all of us!
He set the example of Childlike faith. Faith in a Father, whom He loved enough to obey,even to the end.
With that Faith...
The splendor of heaven was put aside for a time,the oneness with the Father was left for a time, and my life, our lives, became what mattered most!
I love childlike faith, I love that it was a child who gave it to us.IT all started with a child who redeemed us!

I love the anticipation of Christmas and every year (since it came out) we watch the Nativity. Not because it is required around the Holidays, but because it makes the Story of Jesus at His birth come alive, you feel the anticipation. You see Mary's wonder and Anticipation for a child growing in her womb. The long awaited fulfillment of a Messiah! You see the struggle of Joseph,but he to knows!The childlike faith in his obedience!
and although you don't see them you wonder about the Anticiaption of Heaven!
The angels smoothing down their wings, practicing "Gloria..." stirring, bustling.. preparing.Ready to take flight!!! Waiting for The Father to say "It is time.."
The Father knowing that soon, through the life of His only son, He would have what was lost. What He longed for and what we needed.. A relationship, a communion...!! One that we broke, one we caused! Oh the Anticipation, Oh the Love!
Oh the Beauty of such a Gift!!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your heart each time you write! I am so glad that you are using the talents that God has given you!! Your Christmas blog touched my heart and made me smile a bunch!!
One of my favorite Christmas memories is a yearly one. We go out into the "woods" to get our tree every year. It is refreshing and precious time to spend with the ones I love the most. It makes the house smell so good and it sure is fun to vacuum all of those needles up after Christmas!! Love, Lori (dlknwarren1atyahoodotcom)

Tina Pinson said...

Michelle,
Thank you for coming by, and yes, your post may have been lengthy, but it's filled with alot, I can see the angels smoothing their wings, and waiting with deep anticipation for the Father to set the night music in motion.

I may have to watch the Nativity now.

Tina Pinson said...

Lori,

Hunting for Christmas Trees, I remember doing that with you on a couple of ocassions. I remember freezing out behinds off, ( I could so use that now) and thawing out with hot chocolate. Fun times...

I love the smell of pine, but unlike you, I'm not thrilled with vacuuming the needles...

I'm so glad you came by. Pick a good tree for me this year. Or did you already go out?

Martha A. said...

I think the best Christmas I ever had was the year we all got this horrible flu. It was the worst thing ever, but you know, the memories I have of that time are so sweet. We spent time together as a family. No one went anywhere for three days, we read books together, watched movies, did not do alot of eating and no one worked. I have the sweetest memory of just spending time together. I wish things were simpler many a time. I wish I did not know about all the evil in the world and even in our own family, but I am thankful that we have each other to spend time with still, no matter how old we get! martha(at)lclink(dot)com

Linda said...

I can understand the love and dread. I just read An Amish Christmas where they have two days, First Christmas with singing and worshipping, and Second Christmas where they exchange gifts. Brings out the True meaning of Christmas!

desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Susan Hollaway said...

This is my first visit to your blog. It was a lovely post. I just posted this morning on my blog about how I feel part of the Christmas joy is robbed by putting out Christmas stuff at the end of October and turning on the beautiful Christmas lights BEFORE Thanksgiving.

Chrismas is special -- it's about JESUS! I also love the lights, the music, even the movies and the tear-jerker sweet commercials. But I wish people would wait until the evening of Thanksgiving before they start turning on their lights, putting up decorations,etc.

There's anticipation to the Christmas season and the retailers rob us of part of it when they start putting things out too soon. Just my two cents! =)

Thanks for sharing your heart in your wonderful post. Blessings to you during this wonderful Christmas season!
shollaway2008atgmaildotcom

Tina Pinson said...

Wow, Martha,

You know most people wouldn't say that being sick made a wonderful memory. But how wonderful to see being sick as a blessing and have the down time to get to know your family that way.

It's amazing how those times stick with us.

You made me think of some of those times myself.

Tina Pinson said...

Linda,

So the Amish take two days to remember the simpler more beautiful meaning of Christmas, and we take weeks and some of us still can't get it right.

You're right, maybe we should take a lesson from the Amish and focus our attention on what really matters.

Tina Pinson said...

Susan,

I couldn't agree more, I get kind of irritated by all the commercialism of Christmas, where Thanksgiving gets ran over because it's not a money maker.

And sadly, money shouldn't be the deciding factor for Christmas either.

Thank you for your two cents. It was right on target

Annette M. Irby said...

Hi Tina,

What a lovely post. Oh to have the wonder of a child this time of year.

Annette
annette(at)annetteirby(dot)com

SuperMom said...

I am with you, I have the many things I enjoy about the season and some many I dread. My hubby and I have worked retail since getting married 9 years ago. Every holiday get harder and harder to see the many many people going crazy of the 'things' of Christmas and not the true meaning of Christmas. Holidays around our house are actually quite stressful, not because we make them that way in the celebrating of worldly things, but because stores open earlier and earlier every year and they stay open later and later every year.... and my husband being a manager in a large chain retail store works longer and longer hours and more and more days a week.
I love Christmas. I love why we celebrate it... JESUS!!!!

SuperMom said...

Forgot my email adress---
ladyverlinaATyahooDOTcom

rebornbutterfly said...

Wow. Great post! I have a memory that is firmly ingrained in my brain. It's a little silly but sweet.

My family has a couple of snow globes mostly of nativity scenes.
One year when i was very young may 4 or 5, i accidentally knocked down one of the snow globles. I immediately make make the comment that i "broke" baby Jesus. I was so crushed, until my parents explained to me that the REAL Jesus wasn't broken.
It was cleaned up, and now we have a great memory :)

rebornbutterfly (at) sbcglobal (dot) net

Kathleen L. said...

that gave me chills, Tina. What a beautiful reminder of the joys that Christmas can bring if we allow ourselves to come as a child. The illustrations are wonderful. Did you draw them?

Tina Pinson said...

Reborn Butterfly

Your little memory is actually pretty lovely. Only a child would see breaking a globe as breaking baby Jesus. And that the beauty of the child's heart. I thank you so much for the memory and the reminder that Christ is in our hearts.

Tina Pinson said...

Kathleen,

Nice of you to stop by. Yeah I'll admit I was doodling and the little drawings come from me, shoule have made the baby darker, but if you look at him and stare real close he gets clearer the lines get deeper.
I mean that in more ways than one.

Tabby said...

Tina,
This is a wonderful post. It truly reminds us of the true meaning of Christmas, while at the same time hopefully bringing our own memories of favorite Christmas' past out of their hiding place.

As a matter of fact, I remember a Christmas a few years back where I was with Dad's side of the family (which I hadn't been with in a number of years)in Salt Lake City and just how joyful that Christmas was. In fact, it was the first time my son ever built a snowman. See, we lived in Nevada at the time and he had never seen snow (and hasn't again since) or had a chance to build a snowman. Seeing the pure childlike joy in my son's face while building a snowman, even though the snowman was filled with grass because there just wasn't enough snow, brought the joy and meaning of Christmas out in me that year as it hadn't in a number of years.

Thank you for reminding me of what Christmas is really about.

Tabatha

Anonymous said...

Tina, I always enjoy anything you write. This story has to strike a chord in all of us. It certainly got me in the Christmas mood. We hardly ever have family here with us on Christmas, but memories ARE forever. I never feel closer to my parents than when I recall Christmas's past.

boisebebe at cableone.net

Anonymous said...

Tina,
Wonderful perspective this time of year. It's amazing how much you remember and can put into words.

It's a great reminder for us to put the love and joy of Christmas into each day....the child-like kind that has draws others in without all the grown-up drame and expectations.

Carolyn