Monday, December 10, 2012

THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

"When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things ~ not the great occasion ~ give off the greatest glow of happiness."
~Bob Hope

I could tell it was going to be a long night. Our two young children were pumped full of sugary treats. Bursting with excitement over gifts received at Grandma's, they couldn't wait for Christmas morning to arrive.

For the most part, I didn't make a big deal about Santa. But I didn't exclude him either. I tried to incorporate Biblical truths and sound moral teachings in the character of Santa Claus. He got credit for filling each stocking and bringing the main gifts. Every year on Christmas Eve, we left a plate of cookies and a glass of milk. And every Christmas morning, there was a note next to the empty plate, sharing the true meaning of Christmas with our kids.

As we made our way home that Christmas Eve from my mom's house, I was desperate to quiet the kids down. We still had a bicycle to assemble after they fell asleep. But as I observed their jabbery, wiggly states, I realized it might be a while.

"Time to settle down, guys. Santa won't come if you're awake," I told them. I felt a bit guilty for playing the "Santa" card, but there was still a lot to accomplish before sunrise.

They looked at each other and smiled, then continued on their merry way. I tried again, but to no avail. We pulled up to the curb in front of our house. My husband and I helped them out of their carseats and onto the pavement. Their little arms were laden with treasures from Christmas Eve.

"Ho ho ho. What are you children doing awake? I can't come to your house until you're asleep!" We all looked across the street at a man dressed in a Santa suit, getting into a car. "Merry Christmas!"

I'm sure my expression was just as full of shock and bewilderment as our two young children's. Those little legs scurried up the path and onto the porch, not speaking a word. As soon as my husband opened the front door, they flew up the stairs and jumped into bed. Forget pajamas. Santa was in the neighborhood, and he wouldn't arrive at our house until they fell asleep.

And they did. Quick as a wink. My husband assembled the bicycle while I filled the stockings. I don't remember what I wrote on the note that was left by the plate of cookies. But I remember the words I spoke out loud as I reflected back on the whole incident. To me, it was a Christmas miracle. "Thank you , Jesus. Thank you!"

"It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas when its mighty Founder was a child Himself."
~Charles Dickens

"The message of Christmas is that the visible material world is bound to the invisible spiritual world."
~Author Unknown

"Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love!"
~Hamilton Wright Mabie


             

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