Whether you celebrate Christmas, or Hanukkah, or Kwanza, or any of the other Winter Solstice holidays, the magic of the time transcends religious bounds, so I share with you one of my favorite Christmas articles. I wrote this when my children were young and chaos reigned at the Miller house.
Christmas is a time like no other in the lives of most people. From the wistful old lady who sits alone remembering Christmases past, to the starry-eyed kid who bounces around the house singing his own rendition of Silent Night, there is a place for each of us.
Sometimes for me, Christmas is the desperate race to get everything done in time. Every year I tell myself to start early. Make use of those lazy summer days to at least do the shopping, but somehow I don’t often find my summer days all that lazy. Not to mention how hard it is to think “Christmas” when it’s a hundred and five in the shade.
So invariably, I’ll be running around the week before Christmas, trying to find something for Aunt Lucy and trying to balance the number of packages each of our kids will receive. (They will count them no matter how old they are.)
What bothers me most about last minute shopping isn’t the mile long walk to get to the store from the parking lot. It isn’t the lady who runs over my foot with her shopping cart. It isn’t the clerk who can’t possibly tell me where to find the ‘must have’ toy for this year. What bothers me most is wondering whether I’ll make it through the check-out line before the kid I bought the tricycle for is ready for a car.
Sometimes I’d like to forget all about the Christmas Season and just spend two weeks in a rest home. Especially when the excitement starts to build in my kids, and I wish they’d just sit still and be quiet so I’d be more in the mood to be nice to them. It’s hard to think kindly of a kid who’s followed you around the house for a week reading his Christmas list.
Sometimes Christmas is the frustration of cookie crumbs mashed in the carpeting, candy canes stuck on the sofa cushions and the eighteen truckloads of trash strewn around the living room on Christmas morning. Sometimes it is a sense of futility as I wonder if we’ll ever overcome our kids’ basic selfishness and teach them the concept of giving as well as receiving. And sometimes it is a feeling of anxiety over whether we’ve maintained the proper balance between Santa Claus and Bethlehem.
But that’s only sometimes.
Other times Christmas is a warm feeling of closeness when I share my daughter’s wide-eyed wonder at the concept of Santa and all his magic. Or when I share my son’s pride in the surprise he created for his dad out of a chaos of construction paper and glitter. Or when I share my daughter’s satisfaction when she transforms our living room into a wonderland of tinsel and holly. Or when my other son asks me for the umpteenth time to get my guitar and play the Little Drummer Boy, and it reminds me mistily of another time, another place.
Somehow my dad could never refuse either.
And other times I think my heart will burst when I watch one of my kids spend their last dollar on a present for the brother I was sure they hated. Or when I find something totally impractical under the tree for me, and I look up to see my husband smiling in delight.
And other times I have a sense of awe when one of the kids wants to bake Jesus a Birthday cake and sing Happy Birthday. Other times I’m filled with an incredible sense of tenderness and love when I watch my oldest daughter set up the nativity scene and explain to the younger kids what happened that magical night two thousand years ago.
Yes indeed, CHRISTMAS IS a time like no other in my life!