May your Christmas be bright

Tomorrow and Monday, we will come ‘round to Christmas once again. You can feel it in the air today, and that feeling will grow as time passes and Christmas Eve dawns and the yearning for Christmas Day grows stronger.

All is likely to be still come the morning of Dec. 25, just moments before little ones begin to stir and the excitement of the day takes hold. And in those few minutes of stillness will come a brief moment in time where there will be a semblance of peace.

Families will be gathering, presents will be opened, prayers will be said, tears will be shed and memories will be made, just as they have been since that first Christmas so many years ago when a mother gave birth to her firstborn son and laid him in a manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes.

Much has changed since that night in Bethlehem, yet the remnants of that celebration, the stillness of that day, the peace of that moment continues every time Dec. 25th rolls around. As fleeting as it may be, we all find the best part of ourselves to put on display for all the world to see for this most special 24 hours each year.

Our challenge is to find a way to embody the best that Christmas offers each year — the bright eyes of wonderment from little children; the deep, chill-bump kind of love we feel as we hug our families and friends close; the roller-coaster like feeling that gnaws at our stomachs as we look toward the sky, perhaps hoping to catch a glimpse of the star that once led shepherds and kings to a stable; the awe we can’t explain, yet feel, as we hear, once again, the Christmas story read from the gospel of Luke.

It’s the magic of Christmas, the feeling that takes us back to a simpler time when we truly were happy children, satisfied with apples and oranges in our stocking, thrilled at gifts, no matter how small, that were left under our brightly lit Christmas trees, and tickled to death to share a table with aunts and uncles, cousins and neighbors as we offered thanks for what we had been given and prayed for those who didn’t have as much as we were blessed to have.

Christmas was about being together, sharing laughter, making memories and recalling times past; it was about singing those familiar carols like Away in a Manger, The First Noel and Silent Night; and it was about remembering why we all came together in the first place, why we celebrate this season of the year.

The gifts were secondary parts of the celebration.

Today, in this fast-paced, often greedy world we live in, we forget just how much fun we had, how much joy we brought and experienced.

But today as we prepare to come ‘round to Christmas, Dec. 25, 2017, we hope each of us can return to the Christmases that made us smile, that brought a tear to our eye and put true joy in our heart, and then share that with our children, making the memories for them that will last far longer than the latest video game or the coolest toy.

Today let’s come ‘round to Christmas the way it used to be, the way it should be — simple and filled with love — just like the first one.