I never knew my dad's parents' anniversary was December 23. How is it that I didn't know that? I was looking through old pictures and saw pictures from their 50th anniversary and a newspaper clipping that said they celebrated their 50th anniversary on December 23. I looked to be about a middle schooler when they celebrated it, judging from the pictures. I guess I was too wrapped up in myself. Sadly, they have both passed away and I haven't had them around for many, many years. Honestly, I still miss spending Christmas Eve at their house with all my aunts, uncles and cousins.
All those years as a child, we went to Granny and Grandaddy's house on Christmas Eve. I never remember anyone mentioning they'd just celebrated an anniversary. Was it just that I was so wrapped up in the excitement of Christmas that I didn't hear?
I remember being there and the 6 o'clock news coming on and they'd have the radar screen tracking Santa Claus and I literally would come unglued telling my parents we had to go home and I had to get in the bed before he came. When the grandfather clock chimed 7 p.m. there, I'm sure I was nearing stroke stage every year.
I remember laying in the backseat on the way home and seriously, I remember years when I'd fall asleep on the way home. I certainly didn't want to be the cause of him not stopping at my house.
Christmas was magic then. Absolute, undiluted "make-my-stomach-have-butterflies," I feel giddy magic. I remember waking up every year on Christmas to something resembling an FAO Schwartz toy store having landed right in our living room. I remember being so excited I would just run from one thing to another without staying long at any one thing.
After presents, we'd head to my Grandmother and Grandpa's and eat lunch and open some more presents. I remember the coconut cake -- OH, I remember the coconut cake. Grandmother made thin layers and colored them pink and green and left one yellow. The coconut was fresh grated by my Grandpa. It was heaven in a cake. If I remember nothing else about Grandmother's house (although there is a lot I do remember), it's the coconut cake.
Honestly, sadly, though, the magic has left for me. Each year, I find it waning a bit more. I hope it's still present for my kids and that we can make those same kinds of magical memories for them. My magic, however, has been replaced, I suppose by true understanding of the meaning of Christmas -- the celebration of Jesus' birth. And, not that that is not magical or worth celebration, for it surely is. I saw a sign tonight that said, "Where your treasures are, there also is your heart." I've heard that so many times, but each year, it becomes more true. I've stored up a few treasures in heaven. Not nearly as many as I could have or should have, but I continue to try to make whatever difference I can. I've become a bit jaded by the world, by the needs I see in the world and how predominant they seem to become at Christmas. It's hard to feel magic about getting a $300 gaming system when you know that that same amount of money would feed a family in a third world country for a long time, would buy 30 blankets to keep them warm, would buy coal to warm their homes, would buy shoes for their feet, would buy animals for them to have eggs or milk, would buy presents for a child in an inner city who just might not have Christmas. The more I see the world like Jesus wants me to, the more the magic just seems to fade.
Don't get me wrong. I love Christmas. I love the lights, the energy, the music, the love, the kids' excitement, love giving and getting presents, love finding just the right present -- so I'm not Grinchesce, I'm just having some trouble this year finding the spirit. Maybe, if you find it, you could send it over to my house. :-)