I love Christmas. I always have. From my earliest memories it’s always been a special time. As a young child, I remember Christmas mostly as a religious holiday. My parents made sure we were in church regularly and especially at Christmas. I love the Biblical story of Christmas, the music, the whole feeling I get at this time of the year.
I also remember the other side of Christmas, the Christmas tree, the stockings and the presents. Our tradition was always opening our gifts on Christmas morning. Even though it was many years ago, I remember how difficult it was to go to sleep on Christmas Eve. I had two brothers about the same age and all of us had the same anticipation.
We were all believers in the Santa experience. I was a rather precocious youngster and didn’t shy away from difficult questions. For example, I was painfully aware one year that we didn’t have a fireplace. We had a chimney because we had a pot-bellied stove for heat, but we had no fireplace. I asked my mother how could Santa fulfill his mission to our house without an open fireplace. Her reply was simple and exactly what I needed to hear: it’s magic. Santa, she said, is magic. He can do anything he wants to and get to wherever he needs by magic. How else do you suppose he can get around the whole world in a single night? So, if my mother said it was magic, it was good enough for me.
Years later, as I became the father of my own precocious children, simple answers became more difficult to sell. But I still spoke of magic because it’s what it was to me. Maybe it’s because my children wanted to believe or maybe they were just humoring me; at any rate, they seemed to buy into all the magic of Christmas just like me.
Now I’m a grandfather and it’s become even more difficult. My grandkids Google everything I tell them. There’s an app for everything, even Santa Claus. Many Christmas trees are artificial. There is no smell of cedar or fir in the air. Stockings are hung on a fireplace fueled by gas logs. There’s no coal to put into the stockings of bad children. But, you know what? There’s still magic.
There’s magic in the joy of not just the little ones but in the entire family. There’s still anticipation of opening gifts. Granted there seems to be a lot more electronic gifts, but how magic is that? How else would you explain wireless communication, instant answers to any question you could possibly ever have? Oh, there’s magic all right.
But the real magic is in the gathering together of family and friends, the fabulous meals, the wonderful music and the joy of fellowship. I understand other peoples and cultures have different traditions. Still most of the world celebrates Christmas in some fashion.
It’s my Christmas prayer for you that you too have magic in this season. That you be surrounded by love and peace. That there’s joy in your heart and love in your soul, and that Christmas is always, for you as it is for me, a magical time of the year.