For as long as I can remember Christmas was always a magical time of year in the Ryan household. It was the highlight of my childhood in fact. But that’s not why I celebrate Christmas.
Lot’s of warm “fuzzies” and peaceful feelings. Truly wonderful things. But that’s not why I celebrate it.
Our generally stark childhood home was transformed into an indoor wonderland. It was beautiful: complete with “stockings hung from the chimney with care”, But that’s not why.
The excitement of a winters night with my dad picking out the tree. And then firmly planting it right in the middle of our living room(!). It still warms my heart to think about it. Fond memories (I can smell the evergreen in the air), but that’s not why I celebrate Christmas.
Cookies, cookies and more cookies! Anyone who knows me knows I love sweets. But not that much.
My somewhat(?) stoic father was transformed into a little kid right before our eyes. Worth the price of admission but that’s not it either.
The musicals that I loved to watch on TV busted out right on our own front lawn! It was the one time I was the center of attention for the right reason (the carolers somehow always knew we were celebrating MY birthday too). But that’s not why I celebrate.
The eight of us seemed to get along better than the other eleven months of the year. Close, very close… but that’s not why I celebrate Christmas.
In fact, even I was well behaved that time of year. It may have been the reason my parents celebrated Christmas, but not me.
Then there was Christmas morning! Wow! Gifts as far as you could see. It was breathtaking. I can still make out the glow from the Christmas tree as I snuck down the stairs to peek around the corner to make sure it was “safe” (that was my job). One year I jumped the gun so much that I saw Santa’s shadow, raced back to my room and dove under the covers, convinced that I had blown Christmas for everyone. Cherished memories to be sure, but not that either.
And people in general seemed a bit more tolerant and appreciative of one another. Complete strangers wishing one another a Merry Christmas! A truly wonderful thing but still not the reason.
Peace on earth and good will to all! How can that not be the reason? But even as awesome as that is, and it truly is, it’s not why I celebrate.
I celebrate Christmas because God so loved the world that He came among us first as an unborn child. He chose the humblest of beginnings. Born in the backwoods town of Bethlehem. The King of Kings born, not in a palace but in a stable. That we might have everlasting life.
I celebrate Christmas not because of MY childhood but because of HIS.