Season of Wonder
I LOVE the Christmas season for so many reasons–family, lights, food, giving–but most of all, I love it for the wonder and joy I see in my children’s eyes this time of year. Though my son recently confessed that he “hates” Christmas time, most specifically Christmas Eve.
“Hate?” I asked him in mild alarm. “That’s a very strong word for a time of year I thought you loved.”
“Well, I do love the presents…” he hemmed.
“And time with family and friends,” I added for him.
He nodded. “But I can’t stand the waiting! Especially Christmas Eve. It’s so hard.”
I smiled, relieved there wasn’t anything more sinister at play. I placed a hand on his shoulder and said, “I know, honey. It’s hard for all of us to wait. But think of the opportunity. It provides a great lesson in impulse control.”
“What?” He gaped at me in disbelief.
Instantly I wondered if perhaps this wasn’t the best time for engaging him in instruction on the finer points of growing up. After all, he’s only in third grade. Maybe I should just give him a pass on this one. “Well, would you rather Santa not come? Would that make it easier for you?”
“No!” he exclaimed immediately, as though I’d lost my mind.
“Well, then. We have no choice. We just have to wait. But we can keep ourselves busy so we don’t notice the time so much.”
He peered at me. “What do you mean?”
Now I had his attention. “We can do fun things, like drive around and look at the lights, bake cookies for the neighbors, go see a movie.” His gaze narrowed. “Or…you could go next door for a playover.”
He brightened. “Can I right now?”
Hm. Almost dinner time but there was about half hour of light left. “Sure. But don’t forget your please and thank yous,” I called after him as he high-tailed it out of the house.
Staring after him with a sigh, how well I remembered the days spent counting the hours until Christmas. Back then I couldn’t believe how slow a day could move, but now? I can’t believe how fast they pass! One minute I’m putting the Thanksgiving turkey in the oven and the next I’m realizing Christmas is in a week and I haven’t even begun my shopping! Egads–how did this happen? It’s Mistletoe Madness!
When I was young, I used to wake up early in the morning for a sneak peek at the tree. Crouched by the corner, so as not to be spotted by Santa (in case he hadn’t made it yet) or my mother, I would gaze at the gifts piled high and wide (I come from a family of four children). It was an incredible sight and one I couldn’t wait to dig through! Then suddenly my little brother would appear by my side and we’d exchange a look of delight, hardly able to contain our excitement. “Should we wake up Mom, yet?”
Not at five a.m.–not unless your life depended on it! She was barely functional by seven, let alone five. And now as a parent, I understand. Wrapping gifts is a daunting task and can reach well into the early morning hours of Christmas. Each year I think, this is crazy. Next year we’re going to go smaller, less stuff and more meaning. Christmas isn’t about the gifts, it’s about the spirit of Jesus!
But then I think about what that means. Jesus was a messenger, a gift from God. We talk about him and his lessons all year long. Would he really want me to take away the wonderous joy and thrill my kids experience at Christmas? The sheer delight and thrill they savor and look forward to every year? We have enough challenges as it is and when they get older, they’ll assume the burden of this responsibility. Why ruin this special time in their lives?
Soon enough they’ll realize how fleeting time is and how difficult life can be. And they’re learning the value in giving by using their allowance to buy toys for the kids that don’t have any. They bake goodies to share with neighbors and friends so as to bring a smile to their face and I believe they understand the spirit of Christmas.
In fact, one day my son clarified the reason we exchange gifts quite succinctly: “Mom, Christmas is the day Jesus was born and the Wise Men brought him gifts. Now that he’s gone, God doesn’t want us to forget about him, so Santa brings us gifts to celebrate Jesus’ birthday every year.” He beamed. “Just like my birthday!”
Who can argue with that logic? Certainly not this mother so if you’ll excuse me–I’ve got a birthday to celebrate!
And you have prizes to win. Simply leave a comment to this post and you’ll be entered to win a copy of my current release, LUST ON THE ROCKS, ebook or paperback (paperback US & Canada only, please) along with some of my custom made seed saving packets, garden tip bookmarks and recipe cards! Also, don’t miss any of the wonderful authors involved in the Mistletoe Madness Blog Hop. You can find them all listed here as well as your chance to win the Grand Prize of a new Nook loaded with books!
Good luck and Merry Christmas! :)