This is Christmas: Shopping the entire year, and still having a last minute gift to buy on Christmas eve. Being overly excited, because you have had your husband and dogs stocking stuffers tucked away and hidden for the past two months, and tonight is the night you get to sneak out and fill them. Christmas is having a husband who goes all out on your very own stocking, filling it with treats and toys, and a horse stuffed animal, because you’re never too old to love stuffed animals. All these emotions you never knew you had (or simply didn’t remember so much) for Christmas morning, come welling up as you open your bedroom door wondering what “santa” (or your husband) has brought you. It is the memories of Christmases from the past 20+ years, of waiting at the end of a never ending hallway, waiting for Pop to get the video camera. Remembering different hunts Santa would send you on to find your big gift. Being so excited and filled with anticipation as if opening your gifts was "do-or-die", and then standing in complete awe, overwhelmed, not touching a thing because of the astonishment. Christmas is calling your best friends to share stories about your morning, gifts, and silly family moments.
This is Christmas: Being so excited for the holiday, family, and friends, but feeling so saddened because your best friend is in Colorado, spending her first Christmas alone. It’s no longer the need to open presents, but to comfort her because she is miles away from home. Christmas is crying as you write this post because you miss Hillary so much and want the best for her. It’s wishing you could watch your “niece” experience her first real Christmas. Amongst ribbons and bows and discarded paper you take in a roomful of warm, happy faces atop full bellies and eggnog. There are teary eyes as the money-pricey gifts are nearly ignored in favor of the heart-pricey gifts; hand drawn pictures of a father and son, and specialty quilts made by a mediocre seamstress. Gifts from the other side of the world, so full of culture and knowledge. Seeing a grandmother watch her posterity and reflecting on her full, full life. Memories of relatives (and pets) long gone but still felt have been passed out, unwrapped, only to find the feelings and reminiscences come flooding out of your eyes. Suspended in moments of time, staring at what is in your hands. We are rich, is the unspoken phrase that hangs on every molecule in the room, whether or not there are presents to give and a table of food to be eaten from. We are simply fortunate that this is so. We are fortunate to have one another, this family.
This is Christmas: Knowing the greatest gift can’t be found under a tree and unwrapped. But it can be found in a manger, swaddled in cloth, and changing the world from the moment He was sent here. Our Savior is truly Christmas. This is Christmas. He is Christmas. The friends, family, presents, and the essence of life are all because of Him. Let’s rejoice in His world.