It is the Christmas holidays. There I said it. Christmas Holidays!
Not Winter Break, not Happy Holidays but Merry Christmas!
This is a special time of the year and I have grown a little weary of those who try so hard to please everyone by being politically correct. It is Christmas; so there!
I have always enjoyed this time of year, not because of the commercialization or the “presents under the tree,” but just because people in general seem to have a better attitude; people seem more tolerant, even happy in most cases. It of course is a special time for the children and I had a special moment with our oldest grandson...not because presents were under the tree, but because he and I were under the tree!
My sweet wife and I visited our children recently in Denton County to enjoy three of our grandchildren in a Christmas (not holiday) program at their church. The oldest, Lindsay, age 10, even had a solo and did a great job. Made her grandparents and her parents, even her sister and brother proud! While there, I was discussing Christmas with our six year old grandson Lucas, who really has a good understanding of what Christmas is all about. I am thankful that he has parents who have made the effort to see that our grandchildren have been exposed to the “real Christmas story!”
We discussed the “reason for the season” and that it is not all about presents, but about the celebration of the birth of Christ. However, we did discuss the Christmas program at church, we did talk about presents under the tree and Lucas asked me what I did at Christmas when I was a little boy like him!
After considering that question for a few minutes, I told him about how I visualized Christmas eve as a night when it would be cold and foggy, with a mist in the air. The Christmas lights twinkling silently, while Santa made his rounds. It would be warm inside, with family gathered for a meal, followed by the opening of some gifts, but the “big stuff” would magically appear Christmas morning.
Lucas, who clings to the belief in Santa Claus, as do I, sat quietly as I talked about my experiences at Christmas. One of the things I told him was that my Dad and I would always go after Thanksgiving and either cut or purchase a real tree to be decorated after we nailed a suitable stand on the bottom of the freshly cut pine or cedar.
Then after the tree was decorated with plenty of lights, garland around the bottom, a string of bubble lights, ornaments, angel hair and after all the lights came on, and after everyone else left the room, I would take a moment just to be alone with the Christmas tree! I would crawl on my back under the tree to the point at which I could look up, to see the decorations, to see the Angel mounted at the top, and just enjoy the moment; to realize what the season represented and to enjoy that time with just me and our Christmas tree.
Our daughter and son-in-law have a big Christmas tree in the play room, which caused some concern to the little ones about how Santa was going to get to the tree which happens to be upstairs, but that is a story for another time. Anyway, after a few seconds of quiet after I finished my story, Lucas turned to me and said, “Pawpaw, let’s crawl under the tree!”
Today’s Christmas trees do not have as much room under them from the floor to the bottom of the tree, but Lucas got on his back and scooted his six year old body under that tree, while I did the same, although with much more effort!
We looked up from the bottom of that beautifully decorated tree to the top. We didn’t say anything; didn’t have to. Lucas reached over and just touched my hand and gave it a little squeeze. Grandson to Pawpaw. That is what the Christmas season means to me. It was a special moment. Unspoken love. Family and Christmas. The celebration of the birth of our Saviour.
Even today, eight years after this column first appeared, Lucas, at age 14, and his sisters Madison now 15 and Lindsay,in college at age 18, know what the season is all about.
Plus, I think if we worked at it, we could still slide under that tall Christmas tree!
Ronnie Morrison is a former Henderson Daily News sports editor who is now a freelance writer and occasional contributor.