There was a point growing up when I realized that I wouldn’t always be excited to get presents for Christmas. And that made me nervous. Christmas was my favorite holiday, the best time of the year. Without that excitement, Christmas would become just like any other holiday.
If you asked me why I liked Christmas so much back then, I would have replied with a faithful/dutiful, “Because Jesus.” I’d gone to church my whole life and I knew what I was supposed to say, but the real reason I loved Christmas was because of PRESENTS (duh).
I’m not sure why I got excited for presents. I can’t remember ever getting anything really great as a kid (sorry, parents). But I think it was the excitement of having a surprise waiting in a package, a surprise that had been chosen just for me, something that my parents thought I would like or that I had asked them for (I never believed in Santa Claus – sorry, kids).
That excitement to get those special Christmas gifts started creeping in during mid-November, then steadily built after Thanksgiving when we started watching Christmas movies and eating massive amounts of junk food, and culminated the night before Christmas, keeping me awake until morning when it was finally time to open those presents.
The rush of excitement to open Christmas presents was the best, most important part of Christmas!
But what would happen when I grew up and became old like my parents? Us kids never got them anything for Christmas. Did they even get excited for Christmas? Maybe they did, but I was sure any excitement they felt couldn’t compare to the euphoric, sleep-depriving excitement I felt.
Sure enough, now that I’m older, Christmas has changed. I still get excited for Christmas every year, but it’s for different reasons than before (and some of the same reasons too).
I’m excited to have neighbors and friends supplying me with a bottomless pile of holiday cookies and candy.
I’m excited to open presents even if it’s just empty boxes (tearing wrapping paper off of stuff is really satisfying).
I’m excited to see Christmas lights because, honestly, I like shiny things.
I’m excited to surprise family and friends with presents that I’ve picked out just for them.
I’m excited to hear Christmas carols because even though they have different words, they all sing about the same thing.
And I’m excited to refocus on Jesus Christ. Even though I didn’t understand what I was saying when I was younger, I really believe it now.
Christmas isn’t a time to just tell the story of a baby born in a stable. It’s the time to tell the story of a man who lived a very humble life: born in a dirty stable, raised as a poor carpenter, spending his whole life with the sick and poor whom he taught and healed, then being rejected and killed by those same people whom he taught and healed, and willingly doing it all because of love.
When he died, he did it for each of us, to help each individual. He died to give me gifts he’s chosen and prepared just for me: healing, hope, and love.
Now, because I understand the true meaning of Christmas, I can be excited everyday, not just during Christmastime.
Merry Christmas everyone!!! Yayayayayay!