Perhaps it's just the excess estrogen of pregnancy gone berserk or the fact that this is our first Christmas that has been at our house, but I have found myself musing about Christmas to a degree that I never have before. The connections to people and families throughout Christian history. The connections within our culture that are totally secular. Christmas is such a special holiday for us.
Over 2000 years ago, in the Middle East a Jewish carpenter and his fiance welcomed into the world a new baby boy. There would be much to do in the coming weeks. Mary would have her recovery time, there would be the Bris, and of course they would have to make their offerings to God at the Temple. Poor Mary and Joseph weren't even at home! Their future would be full of hardships. But that night it was just a family in Bethlehem. The Holy Family.
After all these years, we still celebrate the birth of our Savior. We might not have the right day. Many believers worship at a shrine that might not be in the right Bethlehem. The birthday of the Son of God should be special to believers. But that day has come to represent so much more. From things as big as "Peace on Earth" and "Goodwill to Men" to the memory of watching my children open their gifts and give us hugs.
I know that the Holidays have as many meanings to people as there are people who celebrate them. And I'm sure that I've been overdoing it this season because for me, being away from my family's big house with their beautiful decorations and big dinner I've been afraid that I wont do the day justice. But for me, it comes down to that family, way back then, and my family today.
Today we made cookies for Santa. Tonight we'll read "The Night Before Christmas" and I'll tuck my little cherubs into their warm beds. There is still a lovely layer of white on the ground outside, and as they sleep Santa and Mommy will set up toys for them to discover on Christmas morning while drinking egg nog and eating those yummy cookies. Tomorrow we'll open presents by the fire and eat a wonderful (even if it is smaller!) meal that I'll be preparing as we listen to Christmas music. We'll be making our own memories, and honoring older traditions. And I hope my children can just begin to understand the truest meaning of Christmas. Besides Santa and elves, there was a baby once, and a very special family. And we are very blessed to have them as an example.
I certainly have been supremely blessed by my children. We are not a rich family. We live on one and a half incomes and we spend most of our money just getting by. But everything we have is a gift from Our Father in Heaven, and I'd rather have this apartment and my children close to me every day, than anything I could buy with money. I hope my children see that, too, and know how much they are loved.
May we strive to be like the Holy Family everyday, and may you all have a Happy Holiday.