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The Magic of Christmas

by Jennifer Morgan

“And the angel answered her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you: therefore the child to be born will be called holy - the Son of God.’ ” ~ Luke 1:35

I was visiting with a friend on the phone the day after Thanksgiving, and in the background I heard her two-year old daughter exclaim “Mommy! When are we getting out Christmas?!”  When her mother answered “Just as soon as I am off the phone, sweetie!” squeals of delight erupted and I knew I had better quickly end the phone call.  The delight of this child instantly whisked me back to my own childhood Christmases.  Each year our family travelled from Cleveland, Ohio to Anderson, Indiana to celebrate Christmas with my beloved grandparents, aunts and uncles, and many cousins.  Oh...the expectation...I could hardly wait!

The very first thing we did upon entering my grandparents’ home was to rush into the living room to find our personal ornament on the tree. Each of us had a ball ornament with our name on it, written in glitter.  Once we found our names, it was official...Christmas was coming!  The next thing that happened was something privately precious to me.  After dark, I would sneak out the front door and stand facing the house.   The scene before me was breathtaking and the spirit inside me would leap with joy.  Heavy snow blanketed the ground and bushes, and the white snow glowed softly with pastel colors of blue, green, yellow and red.  The large C-9 Christmas lightbulbs had been buried in the snow, yet their light glowed through in an ethereal display.  Now, we travel from Texas to my parents’ home in Ohio, and they continue the tradition of covering their bushes in lights...white lights...and every time I witness this snow covered light display, something in my heart and spirit leaps for joy.  I can’t help but think of the Scripture from Isaiah 9:6: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who have dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined.”  For as an adult I have figured out why my child’s heart leapt when I witnessed this wondrous display of light piercing the snow and darkness...Jesus was coming! 

As I prepare my home, and my life, for Christmas, I return to the joy of my childhood’s expectation.  The lights I string on my tree are the lights that shine in the darkness through the snow. The nativity I lovingly set up reminds me of the stories of Jesus’ birth, which had me spellbound as I pictured the angels and animals in the manger with Him and Mary and Joseph. The wreath that I hang on my door has a beautiful meaning: the circular shape represents eternity, the evergreen represents growth and everlasting life, and the thorny holly leaves and red berries represent the crown of thorns Jesus wore and the precious blood He shed on the cross, for us.

And remember those Christmas ball ornaments with our names on them? My parents now have these ornaments on their tree, and the first thing I do when I get to their house is to find my name.  Because I know that Christmas is personal.  My Jesus was born for me.

This Christmas, let your child's heart lead you in expectation.  Believe.

 

Jennifer Morgan is a published author and long-time Bible study leader.  Jenn has served as a lay minister for the Spiritual Care Department of The Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas.  Currently, she is an active member of The Woodlands United Methodist Church.  You can connect with her at her blog.