My earliest recollection of magic was as a child at Christmas. As much as I loved the expectation of what I was going to receive in gifts (likely more than the reality), what I liked even more was the magic, the unlimited possibilities and beauty of humanity. I’m certain I wouldn’t have described it as such at that time in my life. But I would be able to tell you how exciting and calming my dreams were. I couldn’t wait for Santa and yet as I tried to stay awake in my bed so I could finally meet this magical man, I fell asleep looking at the wonder of multi-colored lights fastened to the snow-laden evergreens outside, reflected on my bedroom ceiling.
Sure enough, I’d wake up thinking I’m ready to go and meet Santa, but his gifts had already been long delivered. It was no longer midnight, the morning had arrived, as had the gifts. To a point.
My mom and dad never, ever spoiled us. Except. They made Christmas magical. They would throw away their frugality borne of the depression in their teen years and buy way too many gifts for their kids. But not before…
Every Christmas morning I experienced as a child began with a procession for the Baby Jesus. My folks obviously knew we were consumed with what we were going to get in gifts, so they wisely, in the absolutist’s sense, crafted a way to make this time mean the ultimate and timeless.
Aside from the Christmas tree in our living room, was a humble manger with figurines of Mary, Joseph, goats and sheep, and the Wise Men. Paying homage and respect to this reality was an essential part of how my mom and dad celebrated Christmas. So Christmas morning would arrive. Just a few feet down the hall from all of our bedrooms was the magical living room with its Christmas tree and abundant gifts. And the manger.
Being the youngest in the family, my mom and dad entrusted me with holding the Baby Jesus in his crib. Then, with my mom and dad and my three sisters, we would walk down the short hallway in our home to the living room, this room so packed with gifts. And the manger.
It is 2019. This little baby. This Jesus. The all-encompassing embrace of purity in love and humility. He, and what he lived and died for, has remained strong in our hearts for over 2000 years. May this bring true solace to you and your family. Merry Christmas.