Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Joy!

Children. . .

The purity of their wonder as they gaze in anticipation standing in front of the Christmas tree. The house is still dark but the lit tree is illuminating the wrapped presents underneath. They are totally unaware that "Santa" is watching. They are caught up with the wonder. They are pointing, and whispering, "That one's mine." And then comes the delight, the innocence, the excitement and the happiness of each child as they open their gift.

That is Christmas. That is Pure Joy.

We first noticed Pure Joy this Christmas in Jayla's face at my Mom's Christmas party the weekend before Christmas. Grandma (my Mom) had gifts under the tree for the children and the youngest were first to receive theirs, Major, Berkley, Victoria and Jayla. I'll never forget how the three little girls scooted forward in unison full of expectation. I'll always treasure the look on Jayla's face when she was handed her gift. She looked as if she couldn't believe the big box was hers, Oh the wonder of it all! She carefully unwrapped the box even though everyone in the room wanted her to hurry. I'll always remember the "OH!" on her face as she saw the gift inside and then the total peace and contentment as a new baby doll was placed in her arms. She needed nothing else, it was Pure Joy!

Two days before Christmas we took gifts to Stan & Mary's for the kids, as they are so affectionately called (they are blessed with 10 children). We arrived while they were eating dinner which was perfect timing for me. I placed the wrapped gifts under the tree while they were still at the table. One by one they were excused and immediately ran to the tree to check out the presents and discover who's was who's. When everyone was finished eating and the table was cleared the gifts could be opened. Oh the waiting, and questions, "Why was it taking so long?" Finally, when everyone was gathered, I passed out the presents one by one in random order as fast as they could unwrap them. It was total chaos. They were so excited and Oh!the fun!

I will never forget the smile on Marla's face as she thanked me for her sunglasses! Joel hugged me twice and said thank you for the Air Soft gun. The three little boys received a western sheriff set complete with bandanna, rifle, holster & pistol. They were everywhere arresting everyone. Victoria and Jayla were given baby doll strollers and little backpacks full of baby essentials for the baby dolls Grandma had given them. I didn't know little strollers could stroll that fast on hardwood floors. It was pure delight.

Then just as we were leaving and had our hand on the door knob, the doorbell rang, Stan opened it expecting one of the older boys and right on cue, in perfect harmony we heard, "Joy To The World, the Lord is come. . ." and there before our eyes were Mr. and Mrs. Carr and their seven children. They were standing in perfect caroling formation and wore matching wool scarfs. The youngest child, a girl with short curly black hair and fair skin stood right in front looking just like an angel. Her older sister was next to her holding a plate of cookies and hosting a big smile. It was impossible to capture the magic of that moment on camera but it will be remembered as one of those rare surreal happenings that only the Lord can orchestrate.

Last night, the day before Christmas Eve we took presents to my Christmas Joy, Berkley and Major. Berkley squealed with delight as she unwrapped her little school bus. Major tore into his gifts totally thrilled with the sound of ripping paper. I'll never forget the precious innocence of Berkley as she walked as fast as she could across the room and handed Grandpa his present and said, "Merry Chrithmas." Then she repeated the same with my present. I will cherish the memory over and over.

The moment of Pure Joy happened as I helped Berkley into her pj's and we sang Christmas carols to the rhythm of tickling. And then again while I held Major. Major was totally focused on looking into my face. We baby talked and got to laughing.

Pure Joy. There's nothing else this side of heaven. I know now all those things I believed were so important to "make" Christmas and establish traditions are nothing more than a fleeting vapor. The real Christmas and the lasting memory is the love and Pure Joy we share with one another.

Oh Joy! Pure Joy!

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