Remember when we were kids and all the presents were opened, papers and boxes strewn from corner to corner? Parents exhausted from preparations, Mom probably headed to the kitchen to begin Christmas dinner, Dad watched TV while waiting for football. Or what ever your family's personal scenario was at the time? Anti climatic; yet, a surfeit of gifts, plans, short-lived childish glee had filled the morning. Does any of this ring a memory bell in your mind?
Christmas viewed with the eyes of childish wonder (do young children still experience awe and wonder at the lights and the 'hush' of Christmas?) is much different that the often tired and jaded eyes of the adults who provide the ambiance of the season.
I remember, fondly, Lori and her sisters whispering in corners. Christmas evening we, the parents, were ordered to the couch to behold the annual show. Lori was five years older than her middle sister and the 'baby' was 16 months younger than the middle sister. Oh, and there was a very large Black Standard Poodle, the fourth 'child.' Charlie!
In spite of the fact that we had attended at least 2 different Schools Christmas presentations; we always had the Lori Production in the living room. A production that involved that whispering, giggling, sprinkling of disagreement and borrowing of pieces of clothing, a sheet for a curtain, make up! Even wigs were known to be needed; even if it had served as a clown wig for Halloween. So what if one of the 'kings' had bushy, orange hair (can you spell Ronald McDonald?)
The parents, seated on the couch, waited while Lori, the pianist, director, and Narrator began the Christmas Show. BB the quietest, youngest (sneakiest) was always the angel. Krissie the compliant took the part assigned to her (and also was forced by big sister to do the cleanup because her nickname was, Debbie Domestic). Charlie was the largest and blackest lamb to visit the baby Jesus (who one year was a Troll ~ Do you remember those dolls?).
The hardest part for the parents was to not roll on the couch in laughter because the whole show was meant to be very serious. But the Angel was so proud of her ruffled panties that she turned; and, "whoopsie doooed" in a pretty good imitation of a Follies Bergere can-can. The lamb had a sudden urge to clean his nether parts, which horrified the middle sister who began to scratch, the stress of the moment causing her atopic eczema to attack. The narrator found none of this acceptable being the typical Libra searching for justice. The ego-centric director glared with cat green eyes causing even the lamb to become compliant and the show continued without alarm to the end!
Of course, by this time Charlie had finally rid himself of the sign around his neck that said, "lamb". And, Krissies make up was running down her cheeks with threatening tears. (a tender soul, she). BB, oblivious to all, in her Virgo perfectionism, glided off towards her room to play with her 3 foot Poo bear. Wild applause from the parents with many kudos and pats on the back did not quell the pique of Big Sister who, annually, felt the cast could have done better!
There would not have been a tree except for Mom and Lori. Wait, there may have been a tree but Mom was the one who went to find the tree that "spoke to her." That did not mean that a perfect tree followed her home. One had to be tied in a corner and it was forever named, "Mom's Charlie Brown tree." Lori was the official decorator and she enjoyed her position with possessive gusto. Dad, grumbling a bit, was in charge of getting it set up in the living room.
Christmas now, without children or grandchildren about is barren. Our church is filled by old people and our "youth group' is populated by those over 60! There is no Christmas Program as such. This is not to say that we do not enjoy Christmas Eve services; but a childless Christmas leaves a lot to be desired. No stockings to be hung, no midnight gift wrapping.
This also does not speak to the real reason for Christmas; but even that is wistful. A babe in the manger, a baby who was born to die so that you and I could have peace with God and on earth when He is acknowledged. A star in the sky pointed the way to the world's Savior. There would be no Christmas without the babe. A few years ago, I wrote a short devotional. It came from my heart, a 73 year-old heart that is still filled with awe and wonder in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene.
Christmas is where secular and sacred meet,
where the star of the magi, the shepherds,
David's star intersect.
The secular display stirring the spirit,
causing mankind to seek the reason for his heart's
dis-ease, and unrest. - B. Davis 2004