Growing up my Christmases were pretty much 100% predictable. I knew exactly whose house we would be at and when. My mom and grandmothers baked the same sweets every year. I listened to the same Christmas records for years. I can still picture the large white box with red letters that contained multiple records as a collection, and I can hear Bing Crosby singing “White Christmas.”
Oh the joys of driving around looking at Christmas lights with my mom and dad. That activity never got old for me. I still love to do this, but one factor has put a serious cramp in a much loved tradition: my boys get car sick driving around. I’m not sure whose yard my son threw up in a couple of years back, but I apologize if it happened to be yours. Much to my regret, we will no longer be participating in our yearly meandering of the neighborhoods.
Ever since I moved out on my own I have been trying to discover my new “normal” Christmas. Does anyone else feel that way? Even though we have our own traditions now, things just don’t feel the same. I can’t seem to recapture the wonder and predictability I felt as a kid. Far more unsettling to me than the realization Santa wasn’t real was the idea that the wise men weren’t actually present for the birth of Jesus. Oh, and he probably wasn’t born in December. And it may have been in a cave…
With all of the changes that seem to come with Christmas as I grow older, I am certainly grateful for this: regardless of the exact circumstances, Jesus came into the world. He brought with him hope, joy, peace and light. Recapturing Christmas is a noble endeavor, yet not really necessary. All of the wonder was swaddled up in one little infant sent as a gift to which no others can compare.
One of my favorite wedding gifts was a Willow Tree manger scene. Yesterday, someone who will remain nameless, threw a small ball which knocked two of the sheep to the floor. They lost their ears in the crash. While I am disappointed, it presented a good reminder to focus on the eternal and not the temporary. Decorations will break, traditions will change, loved ones will leave us, but the reality of God becoming man will remain.
Do you miss experiencing Christmas as a child? What is one of your favorite traditions?
Picture from Stock Exchange