I loved Christmas time when I was a kid. Christmas time meant cold weather with chances of snow and unscheduled school closings. Christmas time meant two weeks of no school for Christmas break. Christmas also meant Christmas presents whoo hoo! I loved Christmas.
Dad was usually off on Christmas Eve so he would get up early and go get us donuts for breakfast and then we would run around during the day. Then around 6pm we would go over to his mother’s house with his sister and her kids. When we went to Momo’s house, we got to take one present over there to open along with the presents we already had there. We opened presents, ate homemade goodies and played with our new toys.
When we were through there we would go home where me and my brother Shannon were sent to bed. We always had to close the door on Christmas Eve. That was the only night of the year they made us close the door when we went to bed. They also told us we were not to come out of our room under any circumstances until they told us we could. I still don’t know what that was all about.
Shannon and I were earlier risers on Christmas day. Too early for mom and dad so they told us we couldn’t get up until at least 0500. Since we didn’t have an alarm clock I think they secretly hoped that we would sleep much later than that. What they didn’t realize was that you don’t need an alarm clock if you don’t sleep and we didn’t. We spent the night asking each other about every 20 minutes, ‘Hey, what time do you think it is now?” It’s amazing how many times you can ask that question from 1000-0500.
Finally, when 0500 rolled around we would wake mom and dad up and get to go and open the presents. Whoo hoo! We tore the presents open, thanked mom and dad and looked at what the other one got. Once the presents were opened, dad would make pancakes for breakfast while mom cleaned up the wrapping paper. For some reason mom and dad went back to bed after breakfast until it was time get ready to go to granny Doolen’s house. Granny Doolen was mom’s mom. We spent the day there with her sisters, brothers and their kids. It was a great time. I loved Christmas and was excited when it rolled around every year.
Then something happened. I grew up and went to work at Wal-Mart. At Wal-Mart I learned some cold hard truths about Christmas. For instance, I learned that the love, joy, peace and kindness you see in Christmas movies, only exists in Christmas movies. In the real world, parents and grandparents will yell at you on Christmas Eve because you are out of the new super-sized G.I. Joe with kung fu grip. As if it’s your fault, they waited until Christmas Eve to go Christmas shopping. I learned that in the real world Christmas time is very often a time of great stress, depression and anxiety.
By the time I left Wal-Mart, Christmas time really wasn’t something I looked forward to. I’ve told several people that if I had my way I would go into hiding from the day after Thanksgiving to the 10th of January. I lost the wonder of Christmas.
I’m probably not the only to have felt this way. For many people, Christmas time isn’t really something they look forward to. For one reason or another the wonder of Christmas has been lost. Some feel alone during Christmas time. Some are reminded of bad childhood experiences at Christmas time. Some are reminded of lost loved ones at Christmas time.
There could be any number of things that happen in our lives that cause us to lose the wonder of Christmas. What we need is to regain the wonder of Christmas. This week I’m going to remind us of some truths that should help us regain the wonder of Christmas.