Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Excitement Builds

I have often marveled at how my children refuse to get out of bed on a school day and yet find it possible to arise at ten minutes til six on Saturday and now during the Christmas break.  Just when I think it will be possible for my wife and I to get a few minutes more of sleep....

Oh well, it's not the first time I've missed predicting things.

I really shouldn't be surprised at this phenomenon, at least during this time of year.  I know my children are excited.

My girls see Christmas presents being brought in the house as we receive them by mail and grandparents bring them by ahead of time. 

My son discovered the movie "The Polar Express."  The combination of trains and Santa Claus is overwhelming, and he asks to watch it constantly.  (I will have the dialogue memorized very shortly.  Good thing too.  I'll be using some dialogue for my Christmas Eve sermon.)

The kids marvel at Christmas lights and beg to go looking at them.

We went to take our yearly photo with Santa, and we went to Bass Pro Shops.  They had a proverbial "Christmas Wonderland" complete with an electric train, coloring station, remote control cars, and a shooting gallery to occupy the kids.  Is it surprising that at least one of our children cried all the way to the car when we told him it was time to leave?

For children, this is truly a magical time of the year.  Everything is wondrous.  I can't wait to see their expressions at church this Friday as they get to hold candles as the congregation sings "Silent Night."  Their joy, their wonderment becomes infectious.  At least it is for me.

Of course, I don't focus as much on Santa Claus.  Or gifts.  Or Christmas lights.  I focus on the arrival of Jesus.  I reflect and meditate on the arrival of the one who promises peace in the middle of the storms.  I meditate on the angels who sang with heavenly voices.  I marvel at shepherds who leave their flocks to check out all they saw and heard.  I find a kindred spirit in Mary who pondered the news of these events in her heart.  I become excited knowing what it means that Jesus Christ is born this day.  My heart really does leap at the end of the Christmas Eve service when the lights come up and we sing "Joy to the World!"

Oh how I wish that everyone felt such excitement!  Oh how I wish everyone rejoiced at the good news!  Oh how I wish everyone could, for a few moments, experience the wonder, the awe, and the peace of Christmas without all the distractions.

What an exciting thing that might be.  I will live in hope.

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