But Jesus said, ‘Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me;
for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’
Christmas is for children, just like salvation.
We started celebrating Christmas early the year our daughter flew out with her family for the holidays. Long before Thanksgiving, we were planning events and buying gifts. Christmas mingled with—and finally pre-empted—the turkey and harvest, creating a manic mix of fall colors and jingle bells. Competing Christmas songs played on opposite sides of the house, and we watched a gaggle of Christmas videos—sometimes twice.
Perhaps we were a tad over-zealous that year. But after years of disappointments and heartaches, it just felt good to have an excuse to celebrate.
Christmas is my favorite holiday most any year. I nearly always overdo it, and here is a part of the season I always put away with a sigh.
It’s the child in me, the one who never grew too old to believe in miracles. The older I get, the more I miss the wide-eyed little girl who lay awake most of the night listening for sleigh bells and who bounced out of bed before first light to run breathlessly to the tree.
I miss running in bare feet on cold floors, eating guiltless plates of cookies, playing outside in the snow until my toes were numb, and not knowing that drinking homemade eggnog could make me sick.
I especially miss believing that the golden glow of the season is real.
Somewhere along the way, the child in me got trampled, starved, and seriously sick. She grew too sad to dream or let hope out to play. Somewhere along the way, a tired cynicism replaced the wonder.
Somehow, the child grew into an old woman.
That won’t do anymore. This Christmas, I opened my present early. I found the box my heart had been hidden in. There she was: an innocent babe locked in the stinking barn of this world, a precious child of faith.
Oh, those trusting eyes! See how she reaches for her Father! What a gift from God!
She has waited so long for me to come for her. I want to hold her close and never let her go.
I think I’ll name her Joy.
O holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin and enter in,
Be born in us today.
“O Little Town of Bethlehem”