It started the moment we awoke. Mama would have Christmas music playing as we began rolling out of bed, our bellies still full of turkey and stuffing. She talked quickly and brightly and we soon absorbed her excitement. As Jingle Bells filled the house, the fall decorations would be carefully picked up and put away while twinkle lights and tinsel arrived.
The tinsel was the important part. Carefully, one piece at a time, she would tape it to the ceiling until the living room sparkled and shimmered and screamed, “Christmas!” If I was lucky, Papa would pick me up and twirl me around so my face swirled into the gleaming silver. It tickled.
It happened the day after Thanksgiving and not a moment before. No Christmas music. No decorations. It was fall leaves and turkeys and talk of giving thanks… until Friday morning. Then it was Christmas.
And the story. Over and over we heard the story. He came. For real. For us. For me.
I would sit and stare at the Christmas tree, the way the lights twinkled and moved, and think about how it happened. God, born man. The lessons on giving thanks for all things morphed into giving thanks for the greatest thing.
Love come down.
Now I have my own home and my own traditions. I have a string of red mittens, ornaments that carry stories from Christmas’ past, a tree topper that once sat on a Case tractor, and the advent story written in a composition notebook. Pages colored with crayons and words written in quiet moments of reflection.
And it’s the story passed on.
Love came down.
I have no little ones to wake up early with whispers of Christmas come. But I do have children who come and dance in delight at my tinsel and lights. Children that never leave without hearing the story. The real one. Where Jesus came for me and for you.
And my prayer is that the story will pass on.