Dec 20, 2014

A Beautiful Paradox

"Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; 
that the birth of the homeless should be celebrated in every home." 

I cannot tell you the presents I received for Christmas when I was younger. Oh, there were a couple things, maybe- the contact lenses that meant I was free from a junior high life of glasses and braces. And there was a warm, pink plaid bathrobe. We had a tradition of unwrapping one gift on Christmas Eve and in a moment of serendipity, I picked that one. I remember going to bed wrapped up in that cozy robe, feeling so please with myself that I had picked the best one to open that night by the tree. But other than the odd tin of candy from my grandpa, or the aunt who liked to give me clothes two sizes too big, I can't name five things that were given to me.

The cookies, however, I remember. The sugar cookies that we loved to decorate for a chance to sneak drips of icing. The candy canes we'd hang on the tree with the oversized, old fashioned, multi-colored bulbs, and the mismatched ornaments, and the tinsel. The way our presents were often wrapped in comic strips from the newspaper. The knit stockings that were impossible to coax the candy out of, and the family that would visit that week. The way we would always read the Christmas story from Luke before we'd open a single thing.

This is the time of year that I love most. But this week is always full of mixed emotions for me. I see the photos of a tree stacked with presents so tall, I can barely see the tree at all. I see the gushings over a new designer bag, a fancy camera, or even a new car (do people actually think those commercials with the big red bow on the car are a great suggestion?). It reminds me that it's time to back away from social media for a week or so, until the materialistic rhapsodizing has calmed.

I don't know it it's because these people have no sweet memories of their childhood Christmases. Maybe they truly know no other way to be happy than to accumulate more possessions. Or maybe it's because they don't realize the great needs of those in their own city or their country, and how many people awake to a small, government owned apartment with no tree, no presents, and no breakfast. I suspect it could be those things, or maybe, it is that they do not remember the reason Christmas is here.

(photo courtesy of Dimock Images)
I hope Millie and Walter wake with joy that morning. I hope they appreciate a new book or a dress up doctor's coat. I hope they even have vague memories of believing in Santa Claus and dreaming of reindeer on the roof. But far, far beyond that, I hope they realize, especially as they grow, that Christmas is not about what we've tied up with yarn and topped with bows. I hope they realize that we have so much compared to many others in the world. I hope they have giving hearts that feel compelled to share and give, at this time of year and always.

And more than anything, I hope they grow in the knowledge that Christmas is about a simple night, with a birth in a barn, with a new family out in the cold. I hope they teach their children about the angels singing, and the wise men bringing their finest, and how a newborn grew to become a man who was nailed to a tree because he loved us more than life. I hope that they celebrate in a way that gives honor to that night. I hope they hear the words of those old Christmas carols and shed a tear or two in the beauty of it all.

Merry Christmas, friends. May your hearts be full of blessings.


  1. You and your little family are amazing. Merry Christmas Erika

  2. Love.
    I truly believe you've been given more than you think.
    Merry Christmas Erika!!

  3. I couldn't love this more <3

  4. Wishing you a Merry Christmas!

  5. Beautifully written! Merry Christmas!


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