Advent, Christmas

Perhaps a little bit more…

Hi, I hope you enjoy this glimpse into one of our past Christmas seasons before we entered the Roman Catholic Church. We were trying very hard to find Christ in the midst of all the chaotic holiday fanfare. This was the year we decided to not give any presents at all. It was a difficult penance for us; so difficult that we haven’t repeated it since. It has been a journey from this place to back again as we have rediscovered the joy of Christmas for ourselves.  This year still has a very special place in my heart. The Lord taught us such a beautiful lesson. I have reposted this today at the request of a friend.

It started several Christmases ago. A gradual letting go of normal Christmas activities. First, the tree which we replaced with a menorah. This past Christmas the presents went. That was the hardest part. The presents to each other. Not the shopping, I didn’t miss that at all; but the giving to each other. There was a very real manifestation of guilt on Christmas Eve. It was hard to push through that moment of social bondage and expectations to pursue the higher end of celebrating Christ. Tears spilled down my face as I thought about how I had nothing to give tomorrow. Nothing to give on the celebrated day of Christ’s birth.

Standing beside Emma’s crib I watched the tears fall in the mirror above her bed where she lay sleeping. I choked out a prayer in between the tears. Why does this effect me so? The idea that I can bring nothing. And I realized it was so spiritual to be empty handed. Empty handed beside the crib, a representation of His first earthly throne. Jerry came in at that moment and caught me. I unloaded as he put his arm around me; it was hard for him too, he said. Hard not to give gifts to the children. His admission made it easier to bear. We hugged and rested for a minute as he dried my inner hurt with his words. SO, here we were, the night before Christmas and all through the house…no presents for anyone, not even the mouse…

…and morning came and we had breakfast together, Biscuits and gravy, of course! And there were no expectations except to have fun. No disappointed faces that there were no presents. No bad gifts to take back, nothing to small, nothing that was broken, and no batteries to worry about. No ingratitude over an unliked present. But still I felt guilt over not having something for the children. We spent the day worshiping God, and playing games, and having Christmas goodies and feasts. We shared it together as a family. And then from the other room while I was in the kitchen I overhead a mind boggling admission. Petra said it and her words brought tears to my eyes. “Christian, I think THIS had been the Best CHRISTmas ever.” And my heart leaped inside me. Maybe in the same way that infant John leaped in his mother’s womb when Mary greeted Elizabeth with her news. We had spent the day exalting Christ and enjoying the gifts he gave us. Our blessings…Petra, Christian, Jericho, Elias, Malachi, and Emma. And it dawned on me that we were giving. We were giving our time, love, affection, smiles, and joy as we spent time together sharing the word of God, singing, and playing. It was a real moment in time. I could hear the words from one of my favorite Christmas stories echoing in the back of my mind~

And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?

 O King of all the nations,

the only joy of every human heart;

O Keystone of the mighty arch of man:

Come and save the creature you fashioned from the dust.

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