Pause for a moment with me today. Forget the last-minute schedule that may create a breakneck pace for the next several hours. Put aside that long list of things you still must do.
Relax and enjoy. Take a deep breath. Allow yourself time to rediscover the beauties of a magnificent holiday season that enables us to share memories of significance. Be grateful for each of those little blessings.
Christmas, most of all, is Christ and the commemoration of His birth through church festivals, family prayers and silent moments of reflection.
It’s a manger scene, the careful placement of each piece and the story of His birth as only a child can tell.
It’s the lingering memory of reciting the Christmas story from St. Luke as a sixth grader years ago.
It’s Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas, Sinter Klas, San Nicola, Samisaus, Kris Kringle and other magical names.
It’s a list of toys and games, developed through tedious handwriting of sometimes misspelled words and occasional pictures from handy catalogs.
It’s dolls, teddy bears, electric trains, red wagons, toy soldiers, tiny rocking chairs, balls and bicycles and a host of new games and gadgets designed to occupy hours of interest and command dozens of dollars.
It’s packing mom, dad and the kids in a car for a drive through the streets of our cities to enjoy decorations, wreaths and brightly colored lights on lawns and doors and around windows in homes and businesses.
Christmas is the twinkle in a grandfather’s eye in anticipation of spending time with that favorite grandson or daughter.
It’s little hands guiding visitors to that magical tree.
It’s festive music worthy of great cathedrals, community sings, neighborhood caroling, church cantatas and the closeness that makes each occasion warm and inviting.
It’s stockings that hang near a fireplace, bows tied around lamps, poinsettias and red candles nestled in holly.
It’s standing in line seemingly for hours with your youngest child for his important chance to sit on Santa’s lap only to have him bolt from Santa’s grasp or shy away from the conversation when it’s finally his turn.
It’s the angelic expression of a little one determined to erase a whole year’s naughty deeds in hopes that Santa will remember only the good.
Christmas is family and love.
It’s peace, joy, patience, understanding and contentment.
It’s a small boy peering up the chimney to make certain the path is clear; or counting the number of presents under the tree, scouting each time for his own name and squealing in delight at each new discovery.
It’s the annual bottle of inexpensive, sometimes smelly, perfume for mom, that tie or wallet for dad and the sense of satisfaction from a young one who made the purchase with his own hard-earned money.
It’s visions of frosty breaths billowing against the cold, thoughts of sleigh rides and yearly dreams of a white Christmas.
It’s the firm handshake or the snug embrace of a special friend.
Christmas is the beauty of a church altar and the significance of the cross.
It’s anticipation and imagination.
It’s swapping Christmas cards, messages and photos with people in faraway places.
It’s the agony of deciding which gift is just right and the accompanying thrill of knowing your selection was perfect.
It’s co-workers deciding not to exchange gifts, choosing instead to share their good fortune with a needy and grateful friend.
It’s Rudolph and his red nose.
It’s the suspense of Santa’s visit, the preparation of snack foods for the jolly ol’ man and the morning delight that he took time for a nibble.
It’s the combination of cold feet and wildly expressive little eyes pouncing excitedly through early morning darkness into a warm bed, pleading for permission to survey the bounty.
It’s the echoing of joyous shrieks in a den or living room that is freshly covered with wall-to-wall wrapping paper.
It’s turkey, dressing and all the cranberries you can eat.
It’s kneeling in front of a tree at bedtime to say evening prayers.
It’s giggles and laughter, smiles and joy.
Christmas is giving.
It’s “Jingle Bells” and “Silent Night.”
It’s wise men and swaddling clothes.
It’s the famous letter from Francis P. Church to little Virginia O’Hanlon years ago that reminds us Santa lives in the hearts of people everywhere.
It’s candy canes, hot chocolate, tasty fudge, fluffy marshmallows and fruitcakes.
It’s school plays and crayon drawings.
It’s a trip home.
It’s thinking of mom and dad.
Christmas is, well, Christmas is special. No doubt each of us enjoys personal experiences of the season for it is like no other. It provides us the opportunity to count our many blessings, to appreciate the truly important things of this life, to share our love and to reflect on both memories past and expectations ahead.
Our hope is that your holidays are filled with holiness and happiness. Merry Christmas!
Contact MBJ editor/publisher Ed Darling at firstname.lastname@example.org.