Beccalynn married a Counting Mutant. Together they created a Renaissance family. Wild Oat found them in his 20s and now is married with three kids. Ase and Zany, former dancers who now bravely face life as emerging adults. Girly dances, collects dead things and faces her teen years with superpower logic. Creatively they navigate life through Jesus’ gift, asking uncomfortable questions to discover the deep love that awaits us all.
Christmas. It is not about the shopping. It is not
about the gifts. It is not about the decorations. I understand the meaning logically and traditionally: God
became flesh in the form of Baby Jesus who grew up and died for my mistakes: the
fulfillment of Biblical prophecies. For many, Christmas does not have spiritual
significance. It is simply a time of giving, participating in charities or
changing the house decorations.
My early childhood was spent with my Dad in
the Air Force. These Christmases were celebrated in the land of Snowmiser.
New Mexico; a sprinkling of snow frosted the lawns and the sidewalks were lined with
Luminarias. The simplicity of a brown lunch bag weighted with sand
and security for the lit candle placed inside was breathtaking. My
Mom told me it was to remind us of the path Mary and Joseph took to find a
place to stay in Bethlehem.
My Dad was transferred to Utah. We lived near Grandparents. Snow
billowed everywhere. Snow people set up residences in their front and back
yards where they would live undisturbed until spring. These
Grandparents were affectionate, and honest. Their home was filled
with light, laughter and magic. They were not perfect, but a deep feeling of
love flavored the air. Santa magically brought presents and no
matter where we were, he somehow knew where I was. I was never lost to
him. It was my first glimpse of how God saw me. Santa was
the image of a loving heavenly being that somehow knew everything about me and
everywhere I was. He was the image of God was made concrete.
When we transitioned into civilian
life and moved to California, the land of Heatmiser.
The California winters I
grew up with were gloomy grey skies that last for days. The air was colder than
blizzard I would walk to school in. That chill settled deep into my bones and wouldn’t
go away until the first unforgiving blast of summer sun.
grandparents were the cranky kind. Their house had no natural light. They
spoke to me only when necessary. Christmases in their house matched Mad Hatter’s
tea parties. The cherry on top was my parents’ crisis of conscience. They didn't want to lie to us anymore.
There was no Santa.
I had already kind of figured it out at my sage age of 9.
None the less, the magic of Christmas was lost for a while. I wondered if God had forgotten me. I knew he was real, but did he care for me?
Then…My Dad was out
of work. My parents sat us down and prepared us for the worst. There would
probably be no presents under the tree.
Christmas morning dawned. I resolved myself to be thankful
for anything. The four of us walked the hallway to the Christmas tree. Then the
That morning Santa was real. He gave me a Mandy doll. She
was beautiful, perfect and completely unexpected. He was not a jolly, white
bearded fat man. He was God. Written on my heart in a tangible way was a
reality of the Divine. He cared for me enough to give me
something. I every time I looked at that doll I was reminded that
miracles still happen. I knew God was real and from that moment on, I
clung to him. He loved me. He saw me wherever I was. He extended to me grace
and forgiveness. He was my true Santa.
Years later, I faced a lean Christmas with my children. We
curled up to watch “A Christmas Carol.” I realized my attitude about
Christmas was similar to Scrooge’s.
I had forgotten the miracle.
watched Scrooge on his knees begging for another Christmas from the Ghost of
Christmas Future and I saw myself. His promises to give the gift of friendship,
help where he could, grace and blessings to his fellow man became my own. His
promised to keep the Spirit of Christmas all year round did not come natural
for him. It would be a deliberate action; fueled by memories of joy from Fezziwig’s
counting house; he left behind the sorrows of being left alone at school.
I discovered a box deep within myself filled with sorrows of
Christmas past. Like Scrooge, I decided to put away the sorrows and hold tight
to Christmas’ spirit of giving. It isn’t the Christmas Pasts that defines
Christmas. It is the Christmas Present. These gifts should not be limited
to a day, but are to be present in each moment of my life.