When I was a child, my family would always celebrate Christmas at my grandparents on December 24th, Christmas Eve. There would be a large feast comprised of warm loaves of bread, free-range turkey, homemade mashed potatoes and all the traditional holiday trimmings. Once we filled our bellies, we would gather around the Christmas tree and my grandfather would read the story of Christ’s birth. Christmas carols would then ring out, as my family would celebrate the birth of our newborn King. After twenty minutes of singing, my aunt Susan would sound the Christmas bells. The children were told that it was the sound of Santa’s sleigh arriving. So we would scurry off to the bedrooms and pretend to sleep.
The house was silent and our tiny ears would be pressed against the doors and walls listening for any sign of Santa. My grandmother would always be the first to welcome Santa, who was played by my grandfather holding a roll of wrapping paper to his mouth to muffle his voice. Grandma would always inquire about the reindeer, including old Rudolf. After their greetings and small talk, Santa would celebrate each of the children, mentioning their names and accomplishments from throughout the year. It was always special hearing your own name mentioned.
Before Santa would leave, grandma would have warm chocolate chip cookies and a glass of milk for him, as well as carrot sticks for the reindeer. When we realized he was gone and on to the next house, all the children would rush out of the bedrooms where they were pretending to sleep and find a room full of gifts.
While this will forever be my favorite family Christmas memory, I would be amiss if I did not recognize and contemplate the distinctive significance of the holiday season. Christmas is to be celebrated with true joy and gratitude as we are reminded of the reason for our hope. The orientation of our hearts should be intentionally dedicated to the remembrance of the Messiah, God Incarnate, joining us in mortality to offer life!
C.S. Lewis has eloquently opined, “The Son of God became a man to enable men to become the sons of God.” And it is my prayer that you spend time this holiday season reflecting on the coming of our Savior, for “unto us a child is born, to us a Son is given!” Let’s join together to praise the Father for his perfect gift, Jesus Christ.
I wish you a very Merry Christmas!