It was a slow, sad realization. There would be no money for Christmas presents this year. We’ve been working as hard as we can, serving as much as we can. There was just no way around it. There wasn’t enough to pay bills, so there would not be enough for gifts. It grieved our hearts. It did.
This is the first year my daughter can actively participate in the events of the holiday. The first year we could read the birth story and for her to grasp some semblance of understanding. The first year she understands why we celebrate Christmas at all. Also, the first year we’ve been completely unable to do any sort of Christmas shopping. So, she has no context for it. When she talks about Christmas in an excited whisper, it’s because she knows that its the day we celebrate Jesus’s birth with our family and friends. Her little fingers linger on the nativity set with a hushed wonder. “May I hold the baby Jesus, Mama?” When confronted with Santa, or even the idea of him, she acknowledges what a kind man he is to bring toys to children who don’t have any. She has plenty, so the idea that is he not coming to her house is not sad at all for her.
I will admit honestly that I never intended her to have this kind of singular focus about the holiday. I wanted her to grasp the meaning, yes of course, but I also wanted her to experience the gifts and the wrapping and all the other trimmings that goes along with a good, New Jersey Christmas. How distracted I was that my child had to teach me what we really have to celebrate. She has no other frame of reference for this season other than we have the greatest Joy in the Father who loves us so much, he sent us His son. And that is enough to bring bright, shining happiness to her face. To anticipate the day with gladness. To dance with joy.
Some many long to re-start their children with this impression of Christmas. I am humbled that out of the darkness, shines this marvelous light. What a gift.