It’s somewhere in the middle of the night and I can’t sleep. Back when I was a child I also had a hard time sleeping this time of year. Why?
It’s almost Christmas!
To me, Christmas is less about standing in line for hours waiting for a new gadget—and more about wonder. Ahhh, remember what that is? Just the thought of the word brings back bright smiles and larger-than-life memories.
The world of business would like us to think it’s about giving and receiving; buying things that require spending money. Too often Christmas can easily become just that—about things. Whether it’s gifts, food, parties, church, cards, travel, last minute gift purchases and business rushes—the list is endless. What an odd and expensive package we have wrapped and called Christmas.
Over the years, our family has tried to focus on the wonder part. Sure, we love Santa Claus, Christmas trees, Christmas shopping and everything else. There’s lots of fun and tradition in that. And we’ve also had our share of family holiday troubles over the years. The world’s biggest holiday can be the perfect setup for misery.
We’ve also had some wonder in our home.
To prepare for the holidays, we would read the Christmas story aloud to our children. That’s the one in the Bible, not the movie with the same title! We started early, at Thanksgiving. One year when the kids were still young, we finished reading and asked them what they wanted do to that year. We decided to go out and bring homeless people home for Thanksgiving dinner. One came. Then another. We ended up having them live with us for months. It may have been our best Christmas!
My wife Teresa made books one year of all our Christmas songs and we invited friends over to have a singalong after Thanksgiving dinner. As years passed, musicians would join in, and we sang in the neighborhood. Some years we sang in nursing homes. I’ll never forget the year Tim Duffy sang “Little Drummer Boy” in perfect a cappella in the stairwell of Mesa Vista in Boulder. We even rented a horse-drawn sleigh for our neighborhood a couple times.
Every year we took black and white photos of the family and made cards that included hand-written messages inside. We baked cookies and used them as gifts for our neighbors and friends. We made ornaments and decorated the tree together. We went to church to sing songs under candlelight. We watched either “A Christmas Carol” or my personal favorite, “It’s a Wonderful Life” together on Christmas Eve after church, and then opened one gift each. The rest were saved for Christmas morning. Those were just a few treasured family memories. I bet you have a some great ones, as well!
But the wonder of Christmas to me is about a baby.
Born many years ago to a virgin in an animal stable and under a sky full of celebrating angels, the savior of the world was given to us all. I believe it was the greatest gift of all time, and we celebrate it during this very special season.
I hope you have a wonderfully Merry Christmas!
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.”
– Isaiah 9:6,7