Preparing for Christmas

When I was small, Christmas was larger than life, looming luminously over half the year with a splendor so exquisite that it almost hurt.

But as I grew, Christmas seemed to stay the same. Just like my first bicycle, so large in my memory and so small standing at my feet, what had seemed so huge and magnificent never appeared to be quite as I remembered.

Christmas was still grand and wonderful, but I suppose I began to get used to it.

And now at last I have children of my own who are eagerly anticipating Christmas. It's not my first Christmas as a mother, or even my first Christmas with children old enough to understand, but it is the first Christmas where they're old enough to anticipate. This afternoon I was feeling very daunted, thinking that now I'm the one who has to make Christmas happen, and I'm just not quite sure if I'm capable of putting together a Christmas worthy of their anticipation.

But then, as I buckled down to the task of getting the house clean enough to be worthy of Christmas, I threw on some Christmas music. And it was Christmas.

And I realized that I don't have to make it Christmas after all. Christmas is real, and more resplendent and glorious than I ever could have imagined. All that is needful is with the help of baubles and lights and gingerbread, to make it small enough that a child's heart can contain the bliss.


Anonymous said...

What a post. What truth.


Anonymous said...

From your mom---

A couple days ago I read your wonderful post somewhat wistfully. It seemed that as I anticipated Advent, the “magic” didn’t seem to be there. Now that you girls are grown, my job is no longer to instill the Wonder in my little ones’ hearts. And my other jobs go on, life is so busy… Is losing that sense of the wonder of Christmas an inevitable part of aging?

Then Sunday as I sat in church singing the old carols (in two languages) the tears started streaming down my face. Lights and snowflakes are wonderful, but they aren’t the Real Thing. The Real Thing—the Real One—is still there. And that is the Wonder.

No more let sin and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found.
-Isaac Watts

Sing! All sing! Rejoice!
He—God—made the world!
Rejoice! Rejoice!
He who made all us people,
He, God, is living
As a child, with a body like ours,
He has come to earth.
-Isa U., my translation