The temperature outside hovers around 6 degrees, snow blankets the landscape, stockings are hung by the glowing fireplace and lights twinkle on the tree. Christmas is near and because it is a good day to stay inside, I find myself reminiscing about Christmases past. Life seemed so much simpler as a child. The season was full of wonder and excitement. Some of my memories are of visiting my grandparents’ farm and a fireplace in the room where I slept. I woke up one Christmas to find a doll and high chair beside my bed as though Santa had remembered to visit me there. My other grandparents lived in the house behind ours and the fragrance of baking and dinner preparations always greeted my frequent visits, especially during the holidays.
As I became an adult the wonder and excitement was replaced with stress to get everything done, frenzied attempts to find just the right present for everyone and a hope that no one was forgotten. Growing up whenever I asked my mother if there was a Santa Claus, her standard answer was, “Santa is the spirit of loving and giving.” Consequently I believed in Santa, or at least in the magic of Santa, long beyond childhood. Then one year I realized that the Spirit of loving and giving is not found in the fictional red suited character of stories, but in the unlikely stable of a city in Israel called Bethlehem where a baby was born.
May the wonder and excitement of the true meaning of this season bring you great joy.