My goodness, I am redundant. I can see that every Christmas I make posts with the same theme, using the same references. Too bad. I am passionate about the topic, the stories, and Christmas, and that is all I have to say about that.
All right boys and girls, are we too long away from seeing Christmas through the eyes of a child? When we turn on “A Charlie Brown Christmas” or “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” or “Frosty the Snowman” for our children, do we tune them out? Do we consider the stories merely holiday distractions, allowing us adults to get through the frantic requirements of the season? Have we ceased to hear the sleigh bell from The Polar Express?
A dear friend recently told me that she wasn’t having Christmas this year because she had no money. I told her she needed to watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and with that I realized that many adults, particularly those without children in their lives, have forgotten the lessons of the season. Not a Christian? No problem. These lessons transcend any religious, ethnic or cultural identities.
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer ” is a particular favorite of mine. Every person, even one who is different from the norm, has an important role to play in life. Shunned and bullied for the red nose that makes him different from everybody else, Rudolph saves the day with that same glowing nose when Santa needs to cut through the fog to make his Christmas Eve journey. Worried that the lesson is lost when Rudolph has served his purpose? Fear not. Santa stops at the Island of Misfit Toys and finds homes for all of them. He now knows that the value of a toy (person) has nothing to do with appearance or perfection, and everything to do with the ability to love and the desire to be useful. The other lesson here that doesn’t quite hit you on the head is to be forgiving and gracious when justice is served. Rudolph agrees to guide the sleigh in spite of the way he has been treated because he understands the bigger picture. Santa’s yearly mission is to bring joy to the world, and that is more important than making the others pay for their mistake.
What about The Polar Express? That’s a really good one. It reminds us all to hear the bell. Open yourself to the magic of life, and receive the richness of its gifts. Beauty. Friendship. Everyday miracles. On Thursday, four of our teachers turned the cafeteria into the Polar Express. Lit only by lighted icicles hung from the ceiling and a beautifully decorated tree, it felt mystical, like the magic of the movie playing on the large screen was totally real. A parent in the hall was crying, saying it was the most magical thing she had ever seen. The teachers understood it. The kids understood it. Magic is real. People can build the pyramids, the Great Wall, and the Taj Mahal. People can fly to the moon. It can snow in Atlanta on Christmas Day.
So back to my friend and the Grinch. You can’t have Christmas because you have no money?
“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store.
What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
My friend will be with us for Christmas, and that is enough. No gift is necessary beyond the gift of her time and presence (Ha! I made a pun. “Presence” and “presents.” Get it?) We will all be together. We love each other unconditionally. That is the true gift of Christmas.
Merry Christmas to all!