Christmas Now and Then

My fingers can’t type fast enough to capture the memories, the fragments of thought flying through the air like snowflakes.

Magic it was when I was a kid.  Magic and mystery and air so cold it had color and taste.  Night skies, stars sparkling in the deep blue.  Silence.  The silence of new snow, deep and crisp.

Shivery anticipation as we left church Christmas eve, clutching our bags of ribbon candy and chocolate covered cherries, fat, juicy oranges and that big delicious apple the head Deacon handed us, amused at our efforts to hang on to it all.

I can’t remember the ride home. 

In the morning, we did not sneak downstairs excited to see what Santa brought.  I don’t remember thinking about Santa when I was a kid.  He wasn’t an issue. We didn’t need Santa.  The gift (singular) we found on Christmas morning wasn’t even a surprise. We kids hinted for months for what we wanted, never saying it outright, you understand, just hinting and hoping. Oh, and then the excitement, the absolute thrill of finding exactly what I wanted! Magic! What a strange little girl I was!

I remember wanting a new doll long after it was age appropriate for me. I suppose it’s not surprising that real newborn babies still reduce me to teary wonder.  Magic! No, more than magic, mystery. Heaven touching earth.

When I remember how it really was in my childhood, I can’t help wondering why we spent all that time and money trying to create magic for our kids. And with that in mind, my husband of 50 years and I are pondering a different approach this year.  Not sure what it will be, but I’m guessing it will involve more love and creativity than money, and will recognize that we cannot create mystery.

Mystery is better than magic. Mystery is when Heaven touches earth, when God became man and dwells among us. Emanuel. God with us.


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