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I wish you the best during these Advent and Christmas seasons!
I just stood there staring at the tree for awhile. I had learned a lot from all of the ornaments hanging on that tree. I should have been able to explain the meaning of Christmas by now, but I couldn’t.
I looked down under the tree to see all the recently opened presents. It felt like forever ago that we opened them and I threw that fit about the gaming system.
The gaming system–I was still sad about not getting it for Christmas. I still wanted it so badly. I thought about meeting my friends at school. They would be talking about the video games they played during Christmas break and I would have nothing to say.
I knew I had to go to talk to you and tell you about what I learned. I rehearsed all the lessons in my head trying to think about the best way to describe the true meaning of Christmas.
Christmas is about joy. I learned that from the snowman. He said I could still feel the joy of Christmas even when I didn’t feel happy about what happens to me. As I stood there looking at the all the ornaments on the tree, I didn’t feel very joyful.
Christmas is about hope. I had to explain that to the married couple ornament who started crying when they heard you two praying for me to be born. The only hope I felt was the hope that there was some kind of mistake and a present with a video game system sat somewhere hidden in our living room.
Christmas is about peace. St. Nicholas brought peace to a family in desperate need for money for marriage. It was pretty incredible to see the relief on the face of the father when he saw all that gold in their shoes and stockings. Unlike those young ladies, I still felt sad about not having the video game system to play.
I learned a lot of other lessons about what Christmas means and none of them made me feel much more different than I felt earlier that morning. I was still upset. It all made sense in my head, but I didn’t feel any different. I didn’t know how to make myself feel joy, hope, or peace. None of the ornaments explained that to me.
“Am I supposed to feel different or something?” I said to the ornaments on the tree as if they were going to start talking to me again.
There was no answer. I didn’t know what to do next.
Then I realized that there was one thing missing from the tree.
I went over to the other side of the living room where the star lay on the ground. I picked it up and immediately the room started to change one last time.
I was ready. This was it. I had to learn the true meaning of Christmas this time or I thought you two would never forgive me.
I looked around someone to teach me this last lesson, but I was in the middle of nowhere. There was no one in sight. I couldn’t hear a thing. It was silent and dark. I looked around and shouted, “Hello? Is anyone here?”
There was no response. No one was here to teach me about Christmas. I didn’t know what to do. Then I remembered what I was holding in in my hand. It was the star. I looked up and there it was: a bright shining star up in the sky. I knew what to do. I started to follow that star.
I walked for a really long time until I finally saw them. There were three men traveling on the road heading towards the star. It was the three magi!
I picked up the pace and started to run after them. They were really far ahead. I ran as fast as I could but they disappeared over a hill. I didn’t know where they were, but I knew where they were going. The star was getting bigger and brighter. I was almost there. When I got to the top of the hill I saw the magi entering into a small stable right below the star.
I ran down the hill and nearly fell as I arrived at the stable. I looked in the window and you probably know what I saw. The three magi were there with their gifts. They each presented the gifts to a young woman holding a baby with a man standing behind her. It was Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus.
When I saw Mary and Joseph, my heart stopped. I don’t know why, but my eyes started to fill up with tears at the sight of them. I wasn’t sad. I wasn’t even happy. It was joy, Mom and Dad. I felt joy. Seeing the way Mary and Joseph looked at him, well, it reminded me of you. It reminded me of all the joyful Christmases we got to share together.
It made me feel very calm. I guess this is what peace is supposed to feel like.
The three magi knelt down before the family. The mother turned the baby so the men could see him. When she did, I got to see him, too. I don’t know how to explain how I felt. All I know is that at that moment, nothing else mattered in the world. All I could think about was that little baby.
My first thought was how much I wished other people could be here, too. I wished you could have been there to see him, Mom and Dad. I wished my friends at school could see this for themselves. He was . . . glorious.
It felt like time stopped and I could stare at him forever, but soon the stable started to fade and turn into our living room.
There I was with the star in my hand standing in the room all by myself.
I only had one thing left to do, but I needed help.
I came into the kitchen with the star in my hand.
“Mom and Dad,” I said. “I need your help. I can’t reach the top of the tree without you.”
“That’s fine,” you said and you joined me in the living room. Dad, you picked me up and I put the star back on top of the tree.
“Well,” Mom said, “What do you have to say about the true meaning of Christmas?”
“I don’t know how to explain it,” I started to say, but Dad jumped in, “You better be able to explain something. You have a lot of explaining to do for the way you acted this morning.”
I thought for a moment, then said, “Mom and Dad, I am really sorry for what I did. Christmas isn’t about all the presents. I wanted to say that Christmas was about joy, peace, and hope. It is, but it is more than that. The reason that we feel those things at Christmas is . . . is Jesus.”
You both looked pretty happy with the answer, but not as happy as you were to hear what I said next. “Can we . . . Can we go to church today for Christmas?”
You looked at me and then looked at each other and then said together with a smile, “Absolutely.”
And that was that. We went to church and then came home. You forgave me and told me I could play with the presents I got for Christmas.
You’re probably wondering why I came upstairs instead. Well, I’m here trying to record the true meaning of Christmas just like you asked. And, like I said before, I’m not really sure how to explain it. I tried to say it all, but I guess it all comes down to one thing:
Jesus is the reason for the season.
You hear people say that a lot and, well, it’s true.
When I saw the magi kneel before the baby Jesus, I saw what love looks like. When I saw Joseph and Mary look down at Jesus, I saw love there, too.
The way they looked at him reminded me of you. You love me about as much as any parents could ever love a child. You love me like Mary and Joseph loved Jesus. Thank you for an amazing Christmas.
Christmas! Oh! I just realized that “Christ” is in the word “Christmas.” How did it take me this long to realize that?
I love you Mom and Dad. May Jesus Christ continue to bless our family in the many Christmases to come. Amen!
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