A Magic Christmas

by Pastor Eve Williams

When I was little, Christmas was magic at my house. No, I’m serious…it was magic! Here’s how I know:
Every day the school bus picked me up in front of my house. I’d walk out the front door and climb the big steps of the school bus every single day in just the same way, at just the same time. And every day, at the end of the day, in just the same way, at just the same time, the bus would pull up in front of the house, I would climb down those big steps, walk back into the house and get ready for dinner. Every single day I did this. Didn’t matter if I wanted to go to school or not. Didn’t matter if I wanted green beans or not. Didn’t matter if I’d had a good day or a bad day. Didn’t matter how boring the routine was.
This is what I did every day for what felt like FOREVER!

But then one day every year, I was pretty sure it came sometime after Thanksgiving, the magic happened. I climbed up those big school bus steps in the morning, just like every other day…
and then I’d climb back down them in the evening, just like every other day…
and then I’d open the front door…
and…CHRISTMAS HAD HAPPENED! Just like magic!

What had been the plain old living room in the morning when I left for school became a Christmas Wonderland! The fireplace mantle had snow and reindeer on it. The color wheel was going. Christmas music was playing and the Christmas tree was up! From the kitchen, or what had been the plain old kitchen that morning, were the most amazing smells! There was fudge and divinity and Christmas cookies everywhere! See? MAGIC!

I don’t remember how old I was when I realized magic wasn’t what made Christmas happen, it was my Grandmother doing it. I also figured out at some point this all happened around December 10th. Even knowing about the details didn’t take away the feeling of magic I would get whenever I would come home from school and Christmas had happened.

After I went to college, my Grandmother continued to make Christmas happen for my mother and me. I’d come home from college to the snowy fireplace mantle and the Christmas music. There weren’t as many Christmas cookies and the heavier decorations weren’t out, yet it was still magic.

I remember the first Christmas after my Grandmother’s stroke. She couldn’t walk or talk well, but her mind was sharp, so she directed us by pointing and barking orders in her aphasiac jibberish. It wasn’t perfect, yet it was still our Christmas story. And it was beautiful.

She died five years later and after she did, Christmas didn’t happen like magic anymore. In fact, it was hard to want to make it happen at all. But we had to…because what really was happening all of those years my Grandmother was creating a story for us. It was a story of hope and joy that everyone needs to tell and hear. And when it stopped after she died, it left a huge hole. So, we started to find new ways to tell and hear the beautiful story of hope that only happens at Christmas. It doesn’t quite look like what she made happen, yet it happens. I admit I still get sad and a little homesick when I think how it felt to walk into the Christmas Wonderland. Sometimes we just have to rewrite our Christmas stories…

And the fact we can is the greatest gift of hope God gives us.

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