As I write this, it’s January 15th and my wife and I are just beginning to put the Christmas decorations and the artificial tree away in the attic. We know it’s a little late to be doing this, but it just felt so good to have the house full of the holiday spirit, we wanted it to last a little longer. In fact, each year, we take our leave of the beloved holiday later and later and later.
Christmas means many things to different people. For some it’s about decorating—inside and out. Everyone remembers the movie, Christmas Vacation, and the outrageous display of lights on the outside of the Griswolds’ house. And then there was the overloaded electrical socket in the film A Christmas Story, filled with plugs leading to extension cords to light the family’s cockeyed tree. We have dozens of special objects that decorate the interior of our new townhome, and each Christmas finds one or two more added to the collection.
For us, it’s all about family. It’s an opportunity to see our children and grandchildren in an atmosphere of relaxed frivolity. It’s a time for dredging up memories of special events like someone’s prom, or another’s first date. There are snapshot albums to be pored over and even some ancient slides to view on the living room wall. And, of course, there are games, Attack Uno being one of our favorites.
Christmas itself is a gift as much as those that are wrapped and placed beneath the tree. It’s a time to create new memories that will be looked back upon in the future with fondness. It’s about baking special cookies, and preparing the traditional greenbean casserole and candied sweet potatoes that everybody says they don’t care about, yet seem to disappear nevertheless.
If we didn’t have Christmas each year, we’d have to invent another holiday to take its place. So, as we carefully wrap each ornament, pack away each set of tree lights, and restore the photo albums to their place in the coat closet, we thank God for the holiday His birth created over two thousand years ago. Yes, Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ, but it’s also a gift that keeps on giving and giving and giving.
A belated Merry Christmas to all.