Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Rejoice! Rejoice!

"Do you find Christmas just isn't as exciting as when you were a kid?" This from a co-worker just the other day.

I told her I love Christmas, no, I'm just as excited now as ever about the holidays. We chatted a few minutes and away she went. I felt a little sorry for her, wondering why Christmas used to be exciting and now it wasn't. I thought about it quite a lot. Have been thinking for several days now. I think I have figured it out.


As a kid I loved the sparkling lights, stockings on the mantel, surprises under the tree. I loved the Christmas specials on television, the family celebrations and the special food. New Christmas outfits for church and sacred moments at our church's Christmas service the Sunday before Christmas.

I loved decorated classrooms and Christmas cookies baking and Christmas carols on our record player. I loved it all. And today, I love it all.

Not because of cookies or presents or lights and tinsel but because I was raised not to observe Christmas but to celebrate it. I am afraid that too many people caught up in the festivities of childhood Christmases were only observing the prettiness and perhaps never learned to celebrate. Because to celebrate, we need something to celebrate over. Lacking the celebration, even sparkling lights and shining gifts can grow commonplace.

My kids aren't little any more. They go to bed with a wink and a grin on Christmas Eve and stumble into the living room on Christmas morning with sleepy eyes knowing that Santa has come to fill their stockings. They have grown, like me, to treasure the old ornaments that have now become a part of their childhood which has gone by us so quickly. They aren't tired of Christmas either. They are not observers, you see.

We are celebrators of our own redemption. We are stunned at every consideration of Emanuel, God with us. I cannot hang enough lights nor sing enough songs to do justice to this miracle. No, not the miracle of a virgin birth or a star leading wise men to a manger. Not angels speaking to shepherds. None of this is worth a celebration. I celebrate my birth on Christmas. And the birth of my husband, my sons and all those who are called to this Christ of Christmas carols and candle-lit chapels.

So this is why Christmas is more exciting for me today than when I was a kid. And it is my prayer that this is a tradition my kids will carry on to the generations beyond. If you are a celebrator and not an observer, the Christmas lights will forever be exciting with the knowing of your salvation.

So little boys (like the ones pictures here in 1989) and little girls who wished for Barbies and Love's Baby Soft, will never lose the child-like amazement at God, with us.

Am I the only one crying?

O come, O come, Emmanuel, And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here. Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Wisdom from on high, Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show, And teach us in her ways to go.


O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save, And give them victory over the grave.


O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.


O come, Thou Key of David, come, And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high, And close the path to misery.


O come, O come, great Lord of might, Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times once gave the law. In cloud and majesty and awe.


O come, Thou Root of Jesse’s tree, An ensign of Thy people be;
Before Thee rulers silent fall; All peoples on Thy mercy call.


O come, Desire of nations, bind. In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease, And be Thyself our King of Peace.


(John McNeal)


Pat said...

Your not alone..I'm crying too.
Beautiful post.

Margie said...

nope you are not alone, I am crying too!

I think this year I am celebrating a little more than usual. I am telling you that 400 year thing really got to me!

I'm such a dork

Deb said...

yep - crying.

but I have to confess --that I don't care for all the commercialism of Christmas. I wish we would all focus more on the true Reason for this Christmas season --and keep our focus more on the Lord and less on the glamor and glitz of the holiday.

jadasgigi said...