David Reynolds: A Child’s Christmas
In the process of waiting for Christmas you were not sure of everything happening around you and in the world. Yet, somehow, you were able to put all the pieces of life’s puzzle together. You understood what it was all about. For life was enchanting, tied together with bright ribbons and big thoughts, thoughts about wonder and magic, thoughts only limited by your imagination.
You went about the serious business of enjoying life. And everyday you won big. Why? At your early age you had life figured out. You knew that life was something that happened when you did not plan. So you never made plans. Tomorrow was not in your vocabulary. There was only today.
As for the big day, there were presents, both useful ones and ones you enjoyed. Toys always gave you pleasure. For they always worked. At least in your imagination. As for the clothing gifts, they never seemed to work. So why were they given? You were told that they were for protection from the elements. What elements? In your world there was no need for any protection from any element.
There was the usual combinations of a mom and a dad and a brother or a sister. There were also collections of winter visitors, tall ones from afar who came once a year to prove that they were still alive. They all had the same first name. I believe it was “Grand.” They brought toys and tried to remain calm while attempting to follow instructions on how to assemble your gift. But the writings were of little help. So you wondered why you needed to learn to read.
What else? What else do you remember of Christmas past?
Most of all, you remember a feeling of trust. Years ago you had no suspicions, you did not require proofs of purchase, you did not make reservations, let alone confirm them, and you saw money back guarantees as useless.
Christmas was filled with music. The great choral works thrilled your parents. You did not know why. However, you understood a few simple words. You understood, “For unto us a child is given, For unto us a son is born.” Therefore, you understood Christmas.
On Christmas Eve, and then again on Christmas night, you saw only darkness outside your bedroom window. It did not scare you because it was so close. This holy darkness allowed you to see clearly the lights on the downstairs tree. However, having a tree inside your house was one puzzle you had not figured out.
Why such memories of wonder? Was it because you felt more than you saw? Yes!
However, as you grew bigger your world grew smaller. You began to build little cocoons of security around yourself. You believed that collective action could keep away individuals who might cause harm. You locked doors, paid for protection and asked for more laws, when all you really wanted to do was simply to crawl into a warm bed on a cold night, so that you could crawl around again in that expansive mind you once possessed.
Yes, Virginia, there will always be a Christmas in Connecticut and everywhere else. Humans may fail, but no one has found a way to kill the human spirit. And how do you keep that spirit going? That’s easy. Remember that Christmas is a feeling — and feelings are the stuff kids are made of. So be a kid again. Ask yourself if you can express your feelings on this one day as well as a child can every day. If you can, then you will be enchanted with the simple pleasures of life, plus you will always have a Merry Christmas.