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It seems to me that young adulthood is the place where all the Christmas magic just plum up and left. Opened up a candled window, jumped right out, and is fleeing down the street to the home of people with elementary-school-aged children.
It perplexes me. The lack of decorations for the last two years certainly doesn’t help. Last year, we didn’t have room for a tree with the Pack-and-Play in the living room. This year, all of my decorations are in Chattanooga and I wasn’t sure about taking up half the living room with a tree, anyway, with the house still on the market.
Somewhere along this week it struck me that I think the reason many people my age feel this lapse of Christmas enchantment comes from a loss of traditions. My growing-up years were absolutely steeped in Christmas tradition. The one year we didn’t participate in those–we went to Disney World for Christmas–I felt a little lost. Much of the same way I do now.
Does it come back once you develop your own traditions with your children? I like to think it will. My parents always had the Christmas sparkle, the great belly joy as we decorated cookies, read the pop-up Night Before Christmas, and carried our gifts down the stairs on Christmas Eve.
But maybe my heart is too reliant on what Kelly called Santa Christmas? The decorations, the gifts, Santa Claus and Santa Clause, watching White Christmas while making cookies, and stirring a candy cane into hot chocolate? After all, we all know that the true Christmas lies in the nativity scene, with that tiny baby.
My favorite Christmas memories are, by far, Christmas Eve services at church, lighting the candle and singing “Silent Night,” and reading the story from the Bible before going to bed on Christmas Eve. As Linus would say, “That’s what Christmas is really about, Charlie Brown.” But for me, sitting in the colored lights of a well-decorated tree facilitates the sacred, in a way. Wrapping presents makes me feel thankful for my newborn King. Seeing people with lit-up faces scurrying around, thinking of those they love, fills my heart with joy.
So perhaps the two can meet. The Christmas magic turns my heart toward the true Christmas Joy. And perhaps that’s why I’ve felt at a loss for both for several years.
I hope as we build traditions for Libbie we’ll focus even more on that Joy. And maybe, in these five days before Christmas, I’ll have a little time to set my mind on capturing some this year.