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