Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Feels Different This Year - Volume II

My mind remains mid-swim over this whole Christmas thing.

Only, in this case, the longer I tread water, the stronger I get, the more things start to make sense.

Why has it taken me 34 years to really start to understand that this is all about Jesus? That's all I've got here - just a flickering start of understanding. But it's more than I had last year and less, I hope than I'll have next.

I have spent my life knowing one thing and living another. I have spent my 5 Mama years caught up in the hullabaloo and throwing out like a postscript - "Just remember - Jesus is the reason we celebrate!" The end.

I remember being bummed one year that Christmas fell on a Sunday. No one wants to be the jerk skipping church on Christmas, but it really put a wrinkle in my day. My day. Mine.

Isn't it possible for children (and big people) to direct all of the refried Christmas wonder toward the birth of One who transformed the world, redeemed humanity and hand-picked them for a special, specific purpose?

I think it is, but it's going to have to start right here in the heart of the girl with too-long arms and misbehaving hair.

It's confusing. At least I think it is.

I like baking the cookies and roasting the oranges and feeling the hype. I may even like a Christmas song or two, although I won't put that in writing. Oops.

I started off feeling vexed by the whole internal dilemma. My black/white, all/nothing personality wasn't able to make sense of it all.

My arms were tired, my legs growing numb. I considered putting the whole debate to bed and sinking blissfully back into the water. I felt sort of scroogey and it just seemed easier to pretend that I wasn't feeling the way that I was feeling.

But in the end, you just can't unknow something.

So, here's what I know:

I know that Christmas is fun. My kids feel the buzz more this year than ever, and it makes me smile.

I know that Jesus appreciates a rollicking, twinkly celebration.

I know that I want my kids to grow to understand the importance and beauty of falling on their knees.

I know that all of those ages back, Love came to walk the dirt, and nothing was ever the same.

My first move seemed embarrassingly elementary: This home needed a nativity scene. One that my kids can handle.

So I didn't buy more Christmas "stuff" this year. That cash went toward a wooden nativity, hand-carved and painted in the Philippines, courtesy of Ten Thousand Villages.

My kids argue over who gets to play with it, which wasn't exactly what I had in mind, though I appreciate the fervor.

Ruby gravitates to it most often.

She huddles everyone around the Baby, and even more often, she lines them up on a "thtage" (stage) like a choir, with Baby Jesus holding post as the shortest Alto.

I've been told that the pink wiseman and the angel are Honeys.

The next week will be brim-filled with parties. I'll have sugar in my hair and Scotch tape stuck to my jeans, but my hope is that this year, more than ever, we will celebrate Him. Not as an afterthought or half-heartedly, out of guilt.

How will we celebrate Him?

Oh, I've got some ideas... and I would love to hear yours.