It isn't often that I wish I were younger. In fact, the older I get, the more I exhale a sigh of relief that I made it past another time era. The one exception is Christmas. This holiday makes my heart feel innocent again, my mind kicks into a high observation gear, ready to notice the finer details in the good around me and like a little kid, I still can't fall asleep on Christmas Eve and wake at ungodly hours. (I've always woke before my own kids)
Growing up, Jesus had staked a rather large claim as the overall culprit for the reason, for the season. As a child I appreciated the story behind his big day. My Mom had a manger scene that I could play with and I'd station the baby Jesus in his hay, or have him ride the camel, but mostly, I'd pack him around in my pocket until my Mom discovered his disappearance, and demanded his reappearance. I had no idea what a Virgin Mary meant, but I knew an injustice when I heard one and never thought the lady got enough kudos for being the Mother of the kid that created Christmas.
The thing I could never figure out as a child and I admit, I was one of those kids...a million and one questions all starting with "Why" followed quickly with another "BUT WHY"...(I could drive my parents kaaarraaazzzyyy)..... If Christmas was the big day for Jesus, and he was the son of God, how did fatty Santa Claus manage to snake a piece of the action as well?
The things that plagued my young mind............
One thing I knew for certain. I didn't want to land on the bad list of any power yielding, potentially tyrant (present snatching) Men. Be it God, Jesus, or the fat old guy in red, Santa Claus.
As a child I'm pretty certain that during the month of December I was thinking more about Santa's yearly judgement over my behavior (he had the naughty or nice list) more then my permanent lifetime record with God.
In December I'd harass my Mom and Dad with, "Well, come on, did you file a report with Santa? Did you tell him about this??? Or that??? I need to know what to expect and I'm ready to plead my case if you think that one incident might land me on the bad list" The threat of coal in my stocking and nothing else, was enough to encourage a proactive stance about the entire situation.
Over active imaginations don't take things for face value, we need extra assurance to ease the mind. I'd compose letters to Santa that were nothing short of masterpieces only an 7, 8, or 9 year old with a flair for dramatic tone could muster. I made sure the big guy knew all my good deeds for the year (and also assured him I would understand why my Brother should get the coal deal). I'd also throw in a prayer or two to the big guy in the sky, just in case he and Santa were in cohorts together.
I trusted nothing to fate or parental interpretation. I will say that once the jig was finally up and I started gathering indisputable pieces of evidence (I made lists) that Santa was a fraud and Jesus was debatable, I was left a bit disillusioned, but not disheartened. There was still a sense of magic swirling through the senses and I would never discredit that. For me, it simply became a search for a new and improved meaning for the season. Thankfully, I found my reasons.
I think I miss that fantastic month of anticipation and imagination now that I'm older. I took it all pretty literal when I was young. I am thankful that it's been replaced with another feeling, one I shall deem more rounded and mature. I appreciate these days how I can feel a sense of peace around most people. That the desire to do good by others, perhaps even land on that fanciful 'nice list' sticks with people long after the imaginative beliefs of childhood drift away. It seems, this time of the year people project out rather then focus on themselves. I adore that.
For that reason alone I'd say the season is worth appreciating. And no matter how my views change, I think I'll always have a hard time falling asleep Christmas Eve and wake up long before the rest of my family. I can't calm the kid still left in me..........and I won't try~~