It’s Christmas Eve. The family is gathering today and tomorrow and I’m counting the blessings that come with having others with whom to gather. Celebrating that I’m still here to gather with loved ones.
A few days ago, a friend of over thirty years was laid to rest. He was a good man and I’m sure he’s settling into eternity just fine, but I’m just as sure he’s missed here a lot, too. By family and friends and this group of hybrids for whom the line between family and friends has blurred.
Losing someone is difficult any time, but so close to Christmas makes it all the more poignant and difficult. We’re already reflective, spending a great deal of time with one foot in the past, and this brings back a whole slice of life memories to join the others. We think of things we haven’t thought of in a long while. We think of others no longer with us and the key roles they played in our lives.
Some memories are happy, some bruising, some tender but all worthy memories because they shaped us into the people we’ve become.
We have traditions at Christmas. Some are ones we brought forth with us from our childhoods, some we started with setting up our homes. Others we began when we became parents, and still others when our children became parents and our roles in their lives changed yet again.
Those traditions change over the years as our roles and circumstances change. A few I dearly love is that when the family gathers on Christmas Eve, the grandchildren all pile up next to me on the sofa and I read them the Night before Christmas. I also tell them a Christmas Legend–the history of something to do with Christmas. It’s one of my favorite things about Christmas and they seem to enjoy it also. As they grow, I look back at the photos from birth until the most recent, and I feel content that I’ve been in their lives and they in mine. We have a history. Bonds.
The angels (my grands) and I do a craft project together for their parents while I’m telling them the legend or history for that year. It’s our special Christmas Eve project and we all love that. Year before last, we painted nativity sets. Last year, we painted ornaments. This year–oh, wait. I can’t tell yet. A curious mom might just be reading. <g>
These things–reading, sharing the history of something of interest to them, making something for their parents together–these are small things, but meaningful ones. Perhaps more so to me than to them at this point in their lives. But one day, I expect, these little traditions will come to mean more to them, and who knows, just maybe they’re ones they’ll carry on with their grands someday.
Christmas is a wondrous time. But it isn’t gifts under trees that make it so. The magic is what it’s always been: Love.
As I write this, I can’t help but think of this night from God’s perspective, and how much love was required by Him to do what was done. We’re blessed with not knowing trials and tragedies ahead of time. He knew them, and came for us anyway. No matter how many times I think of that, it awes and humbles me every single time. That is the ultimate Christmas magic, that unfailing, unstinting, unconditional love.
And so my Christmas wish is that you all experience Christmas magic. That the love in it is abundant in your home, your work, your lives–so abundant that it spills over and sprinkles joy into everything you do and every life you touch. And that with it comes contentment and peace.