The dreamlike version of Christmas that I carry around in my head remains unfulfilled. You know, the one where all the family is together and the children are all happily playing and singing in perfect harmony. Everyone is healthy and prosperous, charity and goodwill are abundant, and there are no harsh words, hurt feelings or resentments. The house is resplendent and there is a gentle snow falling in the garden as we share stories beside the fireplace. We tuck into bed on Christmas Eve knowing that Santa (or Jesus) will fulfill all our wishes. The perfect Hallmark Christmas!
Instead we have The Messy Christmas. The “not feeling well enough to enjoy it” Christmas. The Hurried Christmas. The Anxious Christmas. The “not everything I’d hoped for” Christmas. Regular Christmas.
That first Christmas, the one we should be celebrating, wasn’t perfect. Childbirth is messy. It was surely hurried and anxious. And no doubt probably not what Mary and Joseph had hoped for – an arduous journey to Bethlehem and birth in a stable.
So I thank God for our Regular Christmas. The one where we do our best in spite of not feeling our best. The one where the kids are a little too excited and someone cries or pouts (even though the offender KNOWS that Santa is watching). The one where a gift is forgotten or a casserole in burned but we somehow manage. The one where we’re as TOGETHER as we can be and we carry the rest of our loved ones in our hearts.
I suppose our Regular Christmas is my Perfect Christmas after all. Last night, my usually “stand-offish” two year-old granddaughter Ainsley, without being prompted, ran up and jumped in my arms with a big hug and a kiss. My seven year-old granddaughter Anna told me that she was more excited about the gifts that she was giving than the ones she might receive. And then she whispered in my ear to tell me about the VERY SPECIAL PRESENT she had gotten for her Daddy at her school’s Santa Workshop.
Once again my Christmas has been perfected by love. Just like that night in Bethlehem. And angels still bring glad tidings…