Several years ago when I firs came into the life of the boy, Christmas was stressful. With the boy’s birthday being only three days before, it was difficult at best as we had to go out of our way to celebrate the day of his birth and then scramble to get everything for Christmas ready to celebrate the birth of Christ. It was important to keep these two events separate so that the boy would not become bitter toward Christmas or think that we were neglecting his birthday. The boy is older now. All of the work to separate the two events has paid off. He’s excited about his birthday while helping to set up for Christmas. He helps in the baking and cooking. Just this morning we made his cake together and, minus one small incident with an egg, it was a joy. He’s excited to learn to bake a cake and to understand why the flour, cocoa, sugar, eggs, etc. all need to go in. To learn why the water is boiled before adding. To understand why the cake rises in the oven, etc. He knows the cake is for him, but he wants to learn so that he can prepare such things for others when the time comes. Making the cake together has become a part of the celebration of his birthday.
The boy knows that tomorrow we will get up and start the ham for dinner with our neighbors. He knows what to do to prepare the ham. In truth, he could do it without me except for the lifting, but he lets me help anyway. It is not a chore, it has become a part of the celebration of Christmas. While he loves to hear how good it tastes, and let’s be honest, who doesn’t like a compliment, the point is that it is about the celebration. So is dinner and dessert. So is the time spent with our neighbors.
There will be gifts and presents of course, and we will all enjoy them, but this is the best Christmas ever because he has realized what the celebration actually is. It is in the preparation and care that you take. It is in the time together, even when the eggs hit the floor, and the anticipation of waiting until everything is just so. It’s the time that you have invested into it. It’s the people. Isn’t that really the message anyway? We are celebrating the people that are involved. The second person of the trinity at Christmas and the boy on the celebration of his birth. It’s he best Christmas ever because we are here and because the youngest seems to finally understand that the celebration is the preparation, not the event. It’s the people and not the stuff. It’s the best Christmas ever because the best gift I can likely give the world is a young man who actually gets it.
I hope that this is the best Christmas ever for each of you who are reading this. The peace and joy of Christ be with you as we celebrate his birth and move on into another year in the sun. Blessings to all of you.