The past two months have been very stressful for me and my family. Without going into specific details, right around the same time we had our son, we had a loss in the family. The loss was devastating to everyone, and was amplified by the conflicting emotions of loss and new life. Couple this with a lack of sleep, crying, trying to handle two kids for the first time, and the general stress of the holiday season and it has been very difficult to get excited about Christmas this year.
As the wonder and excitement of Christmas fades as we get older, it is generally replaced with stress and anxiety. The long lines at the stores. Making sure everyone gets a gift they like. Trying to juggle the various familial obligations and get-togethers. Traffic jams and traveling, holiday bills and deadlines. Christmas starts to feel more like a responsibility than something to be enjoyed with family and friends.
This year, however, for the first time in a long time I saw the magic in Christmas. I saw my 2-year-old excitedly sprint around the parking lot as we picked out a Christmas tree. He marched gingerly through the rows of hand-made wooden snowmen and reindeer. He was wow’d when he awoke from his nap to find a tree standing in the middle of the living room. He was even more wow’d when he awoke the next day to find it fully decorated and lit. The pinnacle, to date, has been his wide-eyed wonderment at the expansive 2.5 mile light display we drove through the other night.
His unbridled enthusiasm and awe helped remind me of the joys of the Christmas season. He has brought it all back for me: the joy, the excitement, the wonder. Knowing that on Christmas morning, as he walks down the steps and sees the presents under the tree, his eyes lit up and smile spread across his face…that is what makes it all worth it. Now, for at least a few more years, I have this to look forward to each holiday season. For this, I am thankful.
This Christmas, during all the hustle and bustle of getting through what needs to be done, be sure to step back for a moment and really take in all of what the holiday has to offer. And if you’re lucky enough, you will get to experience it all for the first time all over again through a child’s eyes.