Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
When you are a kid, nothing quite beats Christmas. For me, Christmas was magical and yet I was always aware of the holiness and importance of the holiday.
Now, with children of my own, Christmas holds so much of the same promise, hope, and excitement. Mountains of toys are alluring, but the birth of Christ is truly worth celebrating.
Here are my Favorite (Christmas) Things for Friday–with a little bit of all things Christmas, like that rolly polly jolly guy, Jingle Bells, and lots of food (you know me… I can’t write about Favorite Things without mentioning food). First up…
Santa. This dude rocks. Not only does he bring toys, but he is constantly happy, jolly even. He loves children, animals (those reindeer), and cookies. My kind of guy. Growing up, my grandfather would read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas to me every Christmas Eve. It has the most wonderful descriptions of Santa, many of which people still use to describe him today: “His eyes–how they twinkled! His dimples how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry… He had a broad face and a little round belly, that shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!’
Baking. Making, eating, and sharing cookies, cakes and all other kinds of goodies says “Merry Christmas” to me.
Stockings. Some families don’t partake of the stocking tradition, but I love it. I love finding fun, interesting, and unique stocking stuffers, especially for my kiddos.
Midnight mass. My grandmother is Catholic and that meant every Christmas we attended midnight mass. This was a magical and holy event to me as a child. I was put to bed, only to be awakened at what felt like the middle of the night. My mother and my aunts would be readying themselves in the dark quiet house.
We would then head towards the church, which would be filled to brim with worshipers. Each Christmas Eve mass, I would watch and listen in wonder as they reenacted the Nativity. The church doors would be pounded upon as Mary and Joseph were searching for a place to rest their head. The lone donkey, loaded with the mother, would slowly plod down the center aisle. Eventually, a baby would appear–a real infant–and they would all gather around and worship Him, thanking God for the Messiah.
Nothing will ever replace my memories of midnight mass and watching the birth of Jesus come to life.
It’s Wonderful Life. I watched this movie for the first time two years ago. As it ended, I sat quietly crying. It is a perfect movie and also happens to be a Christmas film.
“Real” elves. My family would draw elaborate pictures of elves on pieces of paper and then place them in the Christmas tree. They told me as a child that the elves would freeze whenever someone was looking at them, thus explaining why they didn’t “move.” As soon as I would walk away, however, my family would move the elves, so that as I returned, I was flabbergasted and in awe, thinking that the elves had really moved all on their own.
Christmas music. I love it all, from traditional and religious Christmas music like O Holy Night to Nat King Cole’s Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Christmas music is pure joy to me and I never tire of it–just don’t start playing it until after Thanksgiving.
Giving. They say giving is better than receiving, and I agree. Although Christmas shouldn’t be the only season in which we give generously and freely.
Watching my kids open presents. Hysteria and raw happiness in two small packages (my kids, not the actual presents).
Our Lord. Remembering Christ and thanking Him for His sacrifice, and His willingness to come to earth as an infant, knowing He would eventually die for us all… “who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:6-8.
Okay, you know the drill… What are your Favorite Christmas Things? What traditions do you love? Or, what are some things about Christmas that you could do without?
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