Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Wonder

Is there ever the same wonder and mystery to Christmas as when you are a small child. Everything is so real to you, the spirit of Christmas, angels hover all around, excited at the memory of the baby Jesus and silently lending their voices as we practice the Christmas hymns. Heaven and earth seem to move closer to one another in our minds. Going to the local school to watch the older children in Christmas plays and concerts and as small children we would never dream that the whole adult world is in on a secret about the north pole that will reveal itself to us as we get older.

The longest hours ever for a small child to wait through, belong to the night before Christmas. I remember feeling like mass would take forever, I had a bit of guilt about that but I was sure God would understand. When we would get home there was no problem getting us to bed, we understood that the sooner we went to sleep, the sooner Santa would come. We also knew he would get easily spooked if he thought we were awake and might not come so sleep we must. The trouble was sleep always took a holiday on Christmas eve, I would fall asleep but kept waking up every two to three hours. When I would open my eyes and see the darkness of a winter night, it felt like I was about to climb the largest hill, I was in for a long battle of trying to get to sleep only to have my hidden excitement snap me fully back awake again. I felt betrayed by sleep, it was suppose to carry me to the morning, to the point of running down stairs, it was suppose to erase the waiting. Lying in bed I would become aware of the noises down stairs as the large farm house would groan, click and bang as it cooled down for the night. This would cause me to stay perfectly still, I would strain to hear, maybe just maybe it was him placing our gifts under the tree, I had to stay still not wanting to upset or disturb him, very important to let the man finish his job. Finally sleep again.

I would awaken to the sound of something slowly making it's way to my room, still dark out but morning was drawing near and I knew it was my Captain in the war of getting away with things on our parents. Yes my older sister would sneak over to see if I was awake, or wake me which ever presented itself. We would stay there until the blue light of the earliest dawn appeared, this signaled we could go. Not turning on any lights and staying quiet we would head down stairs, a little nervous that a strange man had been in the house and also hoping if he was still there that he would disappear once he heard us coming. As we descended the stairs the Christmas tree would come into view. It was always so magical and breath taking to a small child. Sparkling from tinsel, angel hair and glass ornaments reflecting the soft morning light and gently moving from the currents of air. There they were, at the base of the tree, toys! We did not get many during the year if ever, but this was the mother load! He had been here, on went the lights as we dove in. There was a magic to these gifts, brought in a sleigh by a man who few knew about, one day being built at the north pole the next in my house, in that time of complete innocence you just never thought to question. Mom and Dad would come down and always give each other those little knowing glances when I would say how Santa somehow knew just what I wanted.

I think there is always a little of that small child in a lot of us at Christmas. I don't think there is ever another wondrous time for us like that again, I believe that is why people try to hold onto those feelings, often by recreating it for their children and grandchildren. I still have a lot of the things Santa brought me, throwing them away would be throwing my child hood away, my memories away. I hope this Christmas morning, upon first opening your eyes, that again you will have that innocent wonder of a small child.


Bill said...

What a nice post. It brought back childhood memories. We always had some presents under the tree before Christmas, but it was amazing seeing the explosion of gifts when I first saw the tree on Christmas morning.

I'll be alone on Christmas morning, but I'll meet with friends very early in the morning...before the sun rises.

psyther said...

I often think back on the same fond memories, but I'm starting to realize that we can live with the same sense of enchanting wonder and amazement if we seek it. Go out and see what magical things still exist, and cherish them just as dearly as those from your childhood. I think more than ever as we get older we develop a hard view of life, but there are just as many magical things now when you fully experience life and recognize the amazing world in which we live.

Cardinal said...

Have a Merry Christas, dude. See you when you get back.

Java said...

I remember that feeling! It was so hard to sleep on Christmas Eve. And our house, which wasn't very old, really, and was made from cinder blocks, made all manner of noises that piqued my excitement. If my grandparents were there, I could hear my grandpapa snoring. He snored very loudly! I was afraid he's scare Santa away.

Birdie said...

My favorite memories center on bicycles. I'll never forget seeing that blue Spider bike with high bars and banana seat in front of the tree when I was eight. I loved that bike until I had long outgrown it. And I'll always cherish the look on my son's face when he saw that 26" red bike waiting for him. Clouds parted, God rays shone down, and angels sang. It was worth every penny for that moment.

You'll find the magic is still there if you look for it. And it doesn't always come under the tree.

Steven said...

One can never have a Christmas without fond memories from Christmases passed. I hope this day continues to create memories for you!

john said...

Merry Christmas buddy!

Jess said...

Christmas never did a lot for me as a child. I never really believed in Santa or got into the holiday. We didn't even have a Christmas tree, let alone presents under it on Christmas morning!

Clearly, I was a deprived child.

Or maybe being Jewish has something to do with it. ;)

Merry Christmas!

Matt in Argyle said...

You know, its funny. I remember being a kid at Christmas, loving the old movies, the Christmas parties, the inability to fall asleep at night and then waking up really early on Christmas morning. Then it kinda faded away.

The weird thing is, this Christmas I felt like a kid again in many respects. Enjoying the holidays, not so concerned about having all the guests over, but making sure I got to see people I wanted. Even on Christmas eve I had problems falling asleep and was the first one up. I guess the big difference was that I wanted people to open the gifts I got them, and wasn't so concerned with what I got.