The excitement and anticipation were obvious in the voice of my favourite five-year-old and it brought back memories of another time and place nearly 30 years ago.
Getting ready for Christmas is such a special time in the school where I worked. The halls rang with off-key practising, both vocal and instrumental. Children scurried to and from the gym wearing ingenious costumes which, judging from the head gear could have been reindeer antlers, insect antennae or even “Klingon” helmets.
I never knew for sure until the first full dress rehearsal when it would all come together in their original productions.
Everyone had a part, their own special moment in the footlights, and as the parent of a former star, I knew they would all be wonderful.
Walking into an art class resulted in quick project cover-ups, just in case you were a parent volunteer and the gift in progress was for you.
Secret planning, shared giggles and mysterious wrappings were a part of the daily fare. It brought such joy to the participants that many of us who were witnesses (and duly sworn to secrecy) were uplifted by this happiness and excitement.
For most of us, our memories of Christmas past are just like those of Ebeneezer Scrooge in the well loved Dickens story, “A Christmas Carol” — full of song and joy and special treats and deep, warm caring love.
I was blessed, since none of the things that I remember fondly depended on the state of the family budget.
They came from the hearts of the people whom I loved and who loved me in return.
I remember one year when I was in the mall shopping with my daughter for those last minute things that each of us thought the other had picked up.
What a wonderful time we had, except for a few grumpy and frazzled parents and the rudeness of some customer service people, who were obviously not in the holiday spirit.
But, that did not deter us from listening to the carols playing throughout the stores and smiling with delight when we passed another shopper singing along in a deep bass voice to “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”
There was a Santa sitting in the centre court and we stopped for a moment to watch a wide-eyed three-year-old stare in awe at this man in the red suit whom she had heard so much about.
Her beautiful smile and enthusiastic bounce sent us on our way chuckling and humming to ourselves, “he sees you when you’re sleeping…”
I love Christmas.
I love the lights and the music and the smells and the wrapping and the cards and the chocolate.
In particular, I love the time in the evening when the tree is sparkling and fire is burning and the world is mostly at peace with itself for a moment.
What a special and precious gift we all received that first Christmas.
It doesn’t matter what faith you are — you can still appreciate the benefits of this “season of brotherly love.”
Smiles come more easily, conversations start more freely and genuine gifts of love and hope are given more readily.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if someone could figure out how to revive this feeling in February and in July and in September?
My wish for each of you this season is you can hold the joy of a five-year-old in your heart throughout the holiday and that the rest of your year is filled with the essence of this feeling.
Remember the, “reason for the season.”
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