"I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year."
How could it be December already? I walked throughout the house, flipping the calendars to unveil the Christmasy visuals. The stockings were already hung. Our house was beginning to have that cozy glow that comes with this season. But something was different.
I should be panicked, I chided myself. I haven't even begun my shopping. Every year, my goal is to have gifts purchased and wrapped by Thanksgiving. Not this year. There isn't a present in the house. Nothing to wrap. No trinkets to fill the stockings.
How am I not stressed? Honestly, it's a bit of a miracle. Christmas is going to arrive, whether I am "ready" with presents or not. If there is nothing under the tree, we'll still have so much to celebrate. Because the real gift of Christmas was birthed over two thousand years ago. Try as I might, no package under the tree is going to hold a candle to the real reason we gather together on Christmas day.
Usually, I share Jo's sentiments from a favorite classic, Little Women. "Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents," she lamented. But this year has ushered in new circumstances. Wasn't that true on the first Christmas, too? Everything was new...different...unexpected. A marriage occurred between Joseph and Mary. And a beautiful baby was born in less than perfect circumstances.
The past few months, our family has been focused on similar events. A wedding on the horizon has occupied much of our time and our thoughts. So has a new baby. Our grandson made his entrance into the world last week. His unique circumstances and the way he has already taken up residence in our hearts makes everything pale in comparison.
Tomorrow I will go out and face the crowds, and do my best to carry on our gift-giving traditions. But my heart is so full right now. I want to pause...and savor this precious season in our expanding family. I want to focus on what's important, what this season is all about. For the babe that was born two millennia ago...and for the little boy that was born last week. Both are miracles. And both are all the reason I need to celebrate, gifts or no gifts. May I never forget this.
"We consider Christmas as the encounter, the great encounter, the historical encounter, the decisive encounter, between God and mankind. He who has faith knows this truly; let him rejoice."
~Pope Paul VI