It seems like every year around this time, I begin to look for that one thing—that spark of…something—that will make it really Christmas. Yes, I know in my heart what the real meaning of Christmas is. I know that it’s a celebration of the birth of my Lord and Savior. I’ll never forget that, and I’ll never stop wanting that one thing to be the true and only “reason for the season.”
But there’s something else, some elusive moment, I always seem to be looking for, even before I quite realize I’m searching. Searching for that one thing that will flip a switch and declare, “Yes! This is the moment! Now it’s really Christmas!”
It’s December 20 as I write this and I’ve already had several of those moments this year. The first one came when I decided to go ahead and put the Christmas tree up. Our kids are coming home for Christmas (cue the Hallelujah Chorus!), and although our house isn’t tiny, it’s still a challenge to squeeze fourteen people in it for almost a week. But I could tell my husband thought the tree should not be a place we “economized.” So up it went, tucked away in a corner where we can barricade it off from our littlest, almost-walking grandson. And when the star went up and the lights twinkled on, there it was: that whisper of “Now it’s really Christmas!”
And then my husband thought we should take treats to all our neighbors again this year—a small-town tradition that we brought to the city with us. I thought maybe it was one thing we could skip this year, since things were starting to get busy. But Ken offered to help me make scones. And when my husband offers to help in the kitchen, I do not decline! We spent a fun morning making cinnamon and berry scones, icing them, and putting them on plates. That was a touch of Christmas in itself (because of course we had to sample the wares!) But that evening, with the streetlights warming our neighborhood in their soft glow, and a foggy mist settling over the rooftops, we delivered plates of fresh scones, one by one. Each was accepted with such genuine gratitude. And such surprise. Apparently this isn’t done much in the city. We left each doorstep with Ken’s “God bless you!” And as we came back to our house it struck me: “Now it’s really Christmas!”
Having grown up in the heart of the nation on a Kansas farm, I didn’t usually have to merely dream about a white Christmas. We usually got one. But it seems like white Christmases have been fewer and farther between in recent years. Plus, with loved ones traveling to be together over the holidays, snow isn’t always a good thing. But one recent morning I woke up to this beautiful sight, and instantly my heart swelled and I thought, “Now it’s really Christmas!”
Of course, when our kids walk through the door tomorrow and all fourteen of us are sleeping under one roof, that’s when it will REALLY be Christmas. Here’s the thing: every one of these “really” moments happen because of that baby in the manger. The Creator of the universe made us in His image, so we are creative. His intent was that we would love our neighbors. Even the weather bows to His command. And our families have been established by His amazing plan for His people. So if we belong to Him, with every breath we take—whether in December or July—we can say with joy, “Now it’s really Christmas!”
I know you’re probably busy getting ready for your own Christmas gatherings, but I’d love to know what makes it “really” Christmas for you? And I hope you and those you love have a blessed, wonder-filled Christmas.