This past weekend we watched another Christmas parade. BK takes it all in, she stands very still (which is extremely unusual) and watches the entire parade. Waving her hand back and forth and shouting “Merry Christmas” as the parade passes.
I leaned down to her during a pause in the parade, right after she had gleefully shouted, “Merry Christmas, everybody.” I whispered in her ear, “Braylen, do you know when Christmas is?” Thinking I would get her standard, “On Friday,” answer. In case you didn’t know all good things happen on Friday, or so it seems that way in her little mind.
But her answer was much deeper than the norm.
She looked at me with such an excitement and said, “Right now, Christmas is everywhere.”
Of course, she was referring to the parade. All of the red and green. All of the heads topped with Santa hats. All of the happiness. The manger scene and Go Tell It On The Mountain, playing loudly for all to hear.
I had been in a mad rush Saturday morning. Cutting it close to parade time when we were walking out the door. Putting BK’s shoes on as we drove the short distance to the parade route. That morning I had doubled checked the Christmas list and made note of the few remaining people on our list. I’m sure i rolled my eyes as I thought about braving the crowded stores.
And in that instant I was schooled on the joys of Christmas by a two-year-old.
Because Christmas isn’t just December 25th.
Christmas is each time I pray to Jesus, who was born on that day.
Christmas is O Holy Night and the slew of Christmas songs our church has been singing for weeks.
Christmas is the giddy feeling I get when I have picked out a gift that I know the recipient is going to absolutely love.
Christmas is the first time I get to explain the birth of Jesus to my toddler and she wants to know more.
Christmas is the second chapter of Luke.
Christmas is giving, just as God gave to us on that Christmas day long ago.
Christmas is believing. Believing in something greater than this world. Knowing a greater day will come.
And if I really stop for just a moment. If I really think about what Christmas is, what it means to me. Then I know she is right. Christmas is here. It is everywhere, it is every day.
You won’t hear me say that Christmas is lost in commercialism. Perhaps, it is for some. The truth is, this season is what I make it. And even though I love a big, tall Christmas tree, while my front door is adorned with a giant Santa hanger, while I go overboard on holiday parties, those things are all a part of a season.
Seasons change, they come and they go. Christ and the miracle that Christmas encompasses is more than a season.
It is our Heavenly father and the gifts He graciously gives to us on a daily basis.
Maybe there is just one day a year set aside that my family is free of the obligation of work, and we come together and share the joy of the season with each other.
But Christmas? It can’t be contained to a single day, it is more than December 25.
I believe the spirit and joy of Christmas is always with me. It’s up to me to find it, to stop and simply believe.