In the hustle and bustle of preparing for the Christmas holiday I have tried to sneak in a few moments to really think about and feel the Christmas Spirit. Some years I am already feeling the beauty of the season, but other years it is something that I must search for to see and experience.
I remember back to my childhood to the magical days of preparing for Christmas—putting up the tree, coloring pictures for our small town coloring contest, driving to see the Christmas lights, attending our ward party, singing at the school Christmas concert, sitting on Santa’s lap……all of these are deeply embedded into my mind.
Think back: the smell of cookies baking, the candy wreath hanging at Grandmas house, Christmas carols, the bright presents under the tree, the twinkling lights, the cold frozen tiny snowflakes on the window panes, and sipping hot cocoa with a candy cane. These are all part of the magic.
Becoming a mom made me want to capture these moments for my little ones. What is exactly is this magic? Is it the bright presents or eggnog? Is is the tinsel or the yummy treats? I have thought and pondered on this question through the years and have come to the conclusion that YES—it is all these little things AND much much more. It is the thought and planning of all these perfect little moments that create part of the magic.
I now understand that all of these moments did not magically happen. The sweet Spirit of Christmas is carried from generation to generation to create beautiful family traditions. This makes the memories even sweeter when I think of them now as an adult.
I now realize all that my parents did to help CREATE Christmas for their little ones. Every year on Christmas Eve day we would decorate sugar cookies. Snowmen, Santa, gingerbread men,and a sleigh all decorated with peppermint frosting, sugar sprinkles, tiny gum drops, and chocolate chips.
As a child, imagine the joy of decorating cookies. Also, imagine the work and mess for Mom. Baking the cookies, mixing three different frosting, getting all the decorations, cleaning sticky dishes and kids, and loads of dishes. For a mom it is a lot of work and clean up but to see the little happy smiles and sticky fingers…here is where the magic is made. Moms decorate cookies in spite of all of this. It is through the sacrifice of time, money, and effort that part of this magic is created. As a Mom I now see and appreciate all of these sacrifices made by my parents. I appreciate all that my Mom wanted us to experience. It was these simple things that made is so amazing.
The other part of the magic takes us back long ago to a stable where the baby Jesus was placed in a manager. The beautiful simplicity of the shepherds and the animals welcoming the Christ child. The fact that there was no Inn for the King of Kings…..it all is such a simple, magical story. The first to see the tiny King were simple, cold shepherds. The beauty and humility reminds of the the whole reason we celebrate today.
And although I believe the Christmas Spirit has much to do with the moments we create, I have also come to realize that this Spirit is not something that you totally create yourself. Ironically this feeling of the Christmas Spirit is already all around us….it for us to grasp and see.
It is the beautiful gift given to all of us centuries ago when the Christ child was born. The simple, calm beauty of his birth is the Spirit of Christmas. Children are so sweet and see the beauty all around in the little details. They FEEL it and understand. But as an adult, I have often let other concerns and worries push it aside. That is why as adults we often cannot grasp it.
So amid the hustle and bustle and the long list of tasks, take a moment and experience the magic. Look into a child’s shining eyes and remember back to those days of magic. Remember your childhood and the traditions passed on year after year. The Spirit of Christmas is real. Picture that tiny perfect baby in the manger. Grasp that feeling. Treasure each moment.