It is very early on December 25th and I am too excited to sleep. I have woken up about four times since we went to bed - anxiously awaiting the morning. I can’t wait to see the hopeful looks on my sons’ faces as they peek to discover that Santa has arrived.
I remember as a child often hearing my mom say, “I would rather give a gift than receive a gift.” As a child I did not understand this; as a parent I do.
Believe it or not, my pace has slowed this holiday week and I have had more time than normal to reflect and be reminded of what is most important. Maybe it is all the snow that has kept us inside; or maybe it is the joy I see each day as my children countdown the days until Christmas.
Hope, love, joy and gifts. These are the gifts of Advent that we have discussed in our home as we prepared for Christmas. But there is another word that has crossed my mind this week as well: traditions. Traditions that make this holiday all it should be - and all it will be - for my family. Baking family recipes, reading my mom’s Advent program, the silly games we play with the naughty elf in our house. Even most of our Christmas decorations go up in the same place each year, much to the delight of children: like the children’s nativity set that has often been infused with Lego men this December. It is wonderful.
My hope is that these traditionsthat will one day help teach my children the joy of giving and sharing with others. We are getting there. My older son asked if he could go to the mall to buy his brother a present. My younger son could not wait to wrap a calender for his brother, shortly after he declared (on our way to the sledding hill), “Snow and family! That’s all I need for Christmas!” He might feel differently if there was nothing under the tree for him, but with comments like that how could Santa not go shopping?
As you gather together in celebration, I wish you the gifts of love, hope and joy. Merry Christmas.