....I wrote & posted this 2 years ago on Myspace......
One Christmas it came to me while I was in the middle of a crowded shopping mall. The air was filled with Christmas carols and I saw a line of mommies with their small children in various moods waiting to sit on the lap of Santa. The decorations of gigantic, brightly wrapped gifts and candy canes added so much color that my senses were verging on overload.
Another time it surprised me during a Christmas Eve service when I was feeling melancholy about having our first Christmas as a new family in our own home. As my husband served our little family communion I knew that it was going to be alright. Some years it happened while I secretly wrapped dozens of carefully chosen presents in my bedroom after the kids were asleep. I will never forget the year that it came while I was on the floor of our tiny cinderblock church cutting up sheets and curtains to make shepherd costumes for eight little boys. Most often it happened as I sat in the darkness of my living room with only the tree lights glowing, enjoying a hot cup of cider in my favorite mug.
Every year for as long as I can remember I have waited expectantly for the special moment when I would feel something sweet and overwhelming about Christmas. That inner surge of joy and excitement that was so easy to find when we were children. Christmas carols can bring it, live nativity scenes almost always do it, bright lights on houses, and school-made gifts are all ingredients that add up to that delicious sense that all is right with the world, even if it isn’t.
There have been some years when I never felt it at all. I just did the stuff that made Christmas happen for us without ever really stopping to sense much of anything. I thought that this year was going to be a “Let’s get through it” kind of holiday.
But I was wrong! On Wednesday, December 6, 2006 at 9pm I was hit with what I now call ‘The Spirit of Christmas’! Everything about this years Christmas changed for me in a moment. We had been gone all day and as we turned into our cul-de-sac, my mouth flew open and I looked around the neighborhood to be sure we were at the right house. My home was decorated with Christmas lights! We have never put up lights, just never bothered even though I really liked to see them around us every year.
My son Peter had surprised us by putting up some colored lights while we were at work. He does not even live with us anymore! Even as I write this, I realize it does not sound like a very big deal. Lot’s of people have lights on their houses. But my son Peter did this for me. That act has just filled me with a wonderful overwhelming sense of joy and excitement that I call ‘the Spirit of Christmas.’
The ‘Spirit of Christmas’ can come in many forms; music, Christmas programs, special gifts, even traditional aromas, but this year, for me it came with just a few strands of colored lights. Thank you Peter.