Friday, December 9, 2016

Christmas Like I Remember

It's true.  There are a lot of perks to being an adult.  No bedtimes.  You can eat what you want to eat.  Nobody's telling you to eat the green beans if you don't want to.  You can buy what you want to buy.  You can drive where you want to go.  No studying or sitting in class.  You can plan trips.  Watch as much television as you want to watch.  Wear what you want to wear.  Stay out as late as you want to stay out.  Make decisions for yourself. 

Yeah, adulthood is a pretty good deal, I have to say.  We even spend a good part of our early life wishing for it.   

But, there could be a time of year when being a child might have the advantage. 

Yeah, I'd definitely say so. 

It's Christmas.

At Christmas, there's no contest.  It's better to be a kid.  Before the innocence is gone. Before the anticipation wanes. Before the busyness crowds out the wonder.  Before the mysteries are all solved.  Before something simple is turned into something so complicated.     

I remember the building suspense leading up to Christmas when I was a child.  It was so strong, sometimes, I just thought I would explode!  By the week of Christmas, the butterflies in my stomach were in full flutter mode and I didn't know if I could wait another second.  I'd remember all the things I'd circled in the Sears catalog and I'd imagine what I'd find under the tree.  There was always an item or two that I really hoped would be there.  A Barbie Styling Head or an Easy Bake Oven or a Merlin electronic game.  And time just seemed to stand still.  Like really, really still.  And those days after school let out were brutal in their snail pace.  The days in December just lumbered along while I slowly went insane with anticipation.   

I remember there being a coziness about home during the Christmas season.  A lot of music and movies and food and decorations and Bible reading.  We had some Christmas albums that played on the stereo almost non-stop during December.  My favorite was a boxed set we had.  It was a treasury of Christmas music and it will forever be the sound of Christmas to me.  It was a time when there were special homemade candies and lots of really good food that we didn't get any other time of the year.  I remember helping Mama roll the pecan sandies in the powdered sugar and using a fork to crisscross her little cheese wafers before they went in the oven.  Mmmmm.  Those were special things reserved only for Jesus' birthday.  We'd decorate our real tree from the grocery store as a family.  Usually with a Christmas cartoon special playing on the console TV.  Daddy would put the lights on the tree and we'd hang all the ornaments plus the ones we'd made at Sunday School usually featuring our school picture, some felt, sequins, and a lot of Elmer's glue.  I remember it being a warm, fuzzy time of year.  Daddy would read the story of Jesus's birth from Luke and something about his deep voice reading those words seemed to officially declare it a holy time of year....even to us as little kids.  I just remember there was more being together at home than usual.  I liked that and so much else about Christmas.    

And the night before Christmas, well, that was generally a sleepless night.  I mean, who could sleep at a time like that?  You were on the brink of the biggest event of the whole year, Christmas morning.  The thrill of the unknown.  The mystery of Santa.  The smell of new baby doll plastic and the pleasure of ripping cellophane off a new board game with all the pieces.  The excitement of looking over to see what your brothers got, too.  It was enough to make your heart pound.  All night long.     

There are a lot of wonderful moments in life.  Times that our minds go back to and wrap us with the warmth of their recollection.  But, not much in this life can rival the memories of being a child at Christmas. 

A lot has changed about Christmas since then.  The month goes by a lot faster.  It's here and gone before you know it.  It's definitely picked up the pace since I was young.  Now, the thrill is found more in giving than in getting.  The anticipation is for the reactions of those that I love.  There are people missing at Christmas now and some traditions have changed.  The stress and bustle of the season can dull some of the sparkle.  Christmas is more complicated than it used to be.  Sometimes, we can feel like we're backstage handling all the ugly details while the real thing is taking place on the other side of the curtain and we're missing it all. 

Like you, I'm waist deep in all things Christmas.  The gift shops are in the middle of their busiest season.  Until next Wednesday, tonight was the last night we had without a social commitment.  I've yet to put one single, solitary decoration outside our house.  Currently, from the road, we look like the neighborhood atheists in need of a salvation track.  Appearances is the only thing drawing me to put them out at this late stage of the game.  And after a solid couple of days in stores and post offices and two nights in the middle of the floor, I've finally finished buying, wrapping, and mailing our gifts.....including the last minute additions and the stack of dirty Santa gifts we'll arm ourselves with for our various parties. 

The joyful, innocent spirit of the holidays can get lost in the stampede of the season.  There's so much to do.  So much to think about.  So much to prepare for.  So many expectations to meet. So many boxes to check off. 

I can easily let the childlike wonder of Christmas get buried in the details.  But, I think Jesus wants me to keep His birthday pretty simple.  Just like I remember it being.  So long ago. 

With the wonderment of a child.  With the joy of a child.  With the heart of a child. 

Y'all have a great weekend celebrating!                 


  1. MERLIN!! I bought one off of eBay a while back but now I can't figure out the directions...ha! I used to love that thing!

    This will be the first Christmas without my dad, so I really am missing all of the fun and excitement of Christmases past when we had him along with Mamaw and Papaw. They made Christmas magical!!

    Take care and have a Merry Christmas!

    1. Carla, I'm so LATE responding to my comments!! Didn't you love Merlin??? It was the cutting edge of electronic games back in the day. I'm like you, though.....don't think I could figure it out today.

      Sorry I didn't read this before Christmas. I hope your first Christmas without your daddy was filled with sweeet memories. I know it was sad in so many ways. Been there. Never quit missing them....especially at the holidays.

      Thanks for always reading, Carla. Love hearing from you!

  2. You're right! I haven't been in the Christmas spirit like I normally do. Something heavy is weighing on my shoulders. But I'm helping my neighbor once in awhile with little ones and my oh my, they make smile:). She has a big Christmas tree and musical stuff animals that play the classic songs.
    Also a nativity for little ones and they do love it. Thank goodness for child like wonder!
    Kathleen in Az

    1. Kathleen, sorry I didn't see this sooner. I'm so behind! Hate to hear you have something weighing on your mind. I hope it's worked out and I hope you had a good Christmas. You're make Christmas so much more exciting for us, adults. Always good to hear from you, Kathleen.