Twas the night before Christmas, and OMG, is it that time again? With all that has been going on in our world, it seems this year has flown by.
I know many are apprehensive about the coming Christmas. We need to be more childlike in our expectations and excitement about the magic of the season.
When I was a child, my family appeared to be a typical middle-class family. All though it was not normal by any estimation. Because of circumstances, Christmas as a child was just another day I had to be careful to avoid my father, lest he finds a reason to abuse me.
I only have two memories of Christmas. When about four or five, I recall running from my bedroom into the living room and seeing the beautiful tree. At about fourteen, I remember my younger brother waking me. I was not a kid that was up at the crack of dawn on Christmas morning, but my brother was, and everyone needed to be around the tree before any gifts could be opened.
I know I received gifts, and some must have been nice, but none were special enough to be memorable. From the time I left home, at about 18, I never celebrated Christmas until my daughter was born, when I was thirty-two. I loved her and wanted her to experience Christmas as a happy and joyous time.
During my spiritual studies, I learned that expectation is an essential part of demonstrating God’s creation here on earth, as Jesus did. He was born to unfold the truth to us about God and who we are as His reflection. We are conceived complete, like a flower in seed form is complete. Then the flower matures and unfolds its peddles to the Sun. Our mind unfolds with an awareness of who we are as God’s idea, image, and likeness, complete and perfect.
When Jesus said to the man, take up your bed and walk, it would not have happened if he had not expected it. Jesus knew it would happen; he had no doubt. I have learned that belief precedes what you expect and that what you honestly believe becomes a part of your experience.
Children are subject to their parents’ beliefs and understanding until they reach the age of reason and distinguish right from wrong. Most children reach that age by 7.4 years, according to statistics. Children who are damaged by abuse struggle with that concept. Their parents have warped their sense of right and wrong, and even when they see a correct sense of right and wrong, fear causes them to make choices that are not always in their best interest.
I know this because although I was anguished over my poor choices, I felt unable at that time to do otherwise. In my mid-forties, I finally found my way and made better choices, and found joy in my life.
I watched a movie the other day that many of you may have seen The Polar Express. It was a wonderful story about the enlightenment of four children. One was boisterous and wanted all the gifts. One believed in the joys of Christmas. One wanted to believe but had never experienced real Christmas in his home, and had no friends, so he felt Christmas was not met for him. One who had believed, but age and investigation showed him it was a myth. However, still, he desperately wanted to believe, regardless of what the pictures, stories, and news were telling him.
On Christmas eve, along comes the Polar Express, and each child, even though they hesitated, they had an expectation of good, and at the last minute, got on the train. The little girl who loved and believed in the joy of Christmas took the lead and led them through all the obstacles on the way to the north pole to see Santa.
In the end, they all discovered their most cherished desires. The little girl received the gift of leadership, as she never gave up her beliefs no matter what happened. The sad little boy found friendship, which Santa told him, there is no greater gift. He found that he could rely on, count on, and depend on special friends. When he got home, there was a big gift for him under the tree. He had found joy. The boisterous little boy got the gift of humility. Finally, the boy who wanted to hang on to his childhood beliefs of Santa as a jolly man in a red suit found a better understanding of Santa. He is the symbol of Christmas magic, and that brought him joy. That joy stayed with him throughout his adult life.
Like that last little boy, with my daughter’s help, I finally found the magic of the season. At my age now, with only my daughter and her husband close, Christmas seems like most other days. Still, I know there is a much deeper reason to celebrate, even though quietly, the coming of Jesus Christ. He was born that we might find enlightenment.
Jesus, though he is not here with us in the flesh today, he remains a symbol of eternal life. He is the way, walk ye in it.