I got up this morning before the world turned to see the sun. For the first time in years, I am awake almost as early as I used to be as an excited kid. Granted, this morning I was up early to start breakfast instead of anxiously awaiting the appointed hour at which time it was acceptable to wake my parents, but it has been a nice reminiscence.
It reminds me of everything I love about Christmas. Many of my favorite parts are likely borne of all the years my brother and I would spend almost the entirety of Christmas Eve decidedly NOT sleeping, but waiting for Santa to arrive and taking turns slowly creeping out into the living room to look at the Christmas tree and its bounty.
I absolutely love looking at a softly lit Christmas tree while the rest of the house is shrouded in darkness. Even moreso once some gifts begin to accumulate beneath its branches. I gaze upon each ornament, trying to remember when and where it came from. The glow from a Christmas tree in the night is what fills my soul with fond memories and love from a time past.
The meaning of Christmas is debatable, and I know there are plenty of "reasons for the season", but a warm Christmas tree in a cold room helps me try to live each year like the child I once was: full of hope and excitement. I don't truthfully wish to live Christmas as an adult, because it is full of stress and deadlines and complications and arguments over which family gets which piece of Christmas. Like a pack of coyotes fighting over flesh. Without the childlike wonder... Christmastime is not all that pleasant.
And now I am a mom. This is E's second Christmas, though she still doesn't understand about Santa and she doesn't yet expect gifts, it is still full of more magic than all my other adult Christmases combined. I look forward to all the years to come with my children, but I especially look forward to seeing my kids' tired faces on Christmas morning, knowing that they'd been up all night, huddled together in bed, wondering what was waiting in the living room.
Yes, I think Christmas should be about family and togetherness and kindness and love.
But it should be first about magic.
Something us adults could stand to remember.