Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Cheer [CCR]

The holidays are upon us and with it comes a time of giving. Most of us with children or grandchildren are almost more excited than the children themselves. Many may think the holidays have become too commercialized, and I must agree in some manner. But giving the matter some thought reminds me that while the holidays give something to everyone, the greatest gift to us are the children. Just as one small child represented the entire future of Christianity, children represent our future and in that respect we celebrate.

Every year it was almost impossible to wait to open gifts, whether at home or at one of my grandparents’ homes. We were always eager to see what might be wrapped and couldn’t wait to shred the paper and discover its secret. For most children it didn’t matter if the secret were big or small, the whole idea of receiving something sufficed.

At Grandmother Smith’s house we often drew numbers or names to exchange gifts among the grandchildren. And my grandparents often placed their own gift under the sparkling magical tree. I guess we didn’t realize the parents were watching us more than looking for their own gifts. It would be years later before I understood what they saw in those celebrations.

On one magical Christmas Grandmother and Granddaddy Smith gave us cameras. But these were not ordinary cameras. They were Micky Mouse cameras. The nose was the lens and the ear was the trigger. I haven’t seen a camera with as much charisma since then. I doubt, with today’s electronics craze, I ever will. It bore so deep into my memory that my cousin Pam and I discuss our cameras at every family gathering with the Thanksgiving gathering this year being no exception.

Each year we gathered the family grew a little more and so did the celebration. By the time I reached my teen years the grandchildren were numerous and the older grandchildren brought guests. I guess the interest in the opposite sex began the initial downfall to the childhood magic. But it brought the second celebration of Christmas, the fellowship of family.

By the time we reached adulthood we realized the need to celebrate another year together. In these times we look at the past and remember the struggles and victories together while anticipating the future. Stories are swapped while the younger children eagerly anticipate the moment to rip open the gifts.

Today we have children of our own and we now watch them fervently open their prizes while we cherish those memories being made. It reminds each of us of the three Magi in the traditional Christmas story, who bring their own gifts to celebrate their future. They looked upon a small child and saw a great future that will be celebrated for all future generations.

It is my wish that each of you have a wonderful holiday season while celebrating your gift of life by bringing light to the winter solstice. No matter how you celebrate look at the true magic of the future in your children. Give them the best gift you can, memories that will carry them through many seasons into our own future and for generations to come.