Christmas has always been a magical time, yet I truly never experienced the entirety of its magic until this year. My youngest sister Maddox turned 3 in October, and this holiday season has been by far the best yet. I was able to witness the joy she had as each gift was opened, the childlike innocence she displayed that I seem to forget as I get older, and the excitement about Santa and surprise she felt throughout this holiday season.
We recently took Maddox to the Meadow Lights to see their beautiful light display. Momma also wanted her to be able to ride the carousel and sit on Santa’s lap for the sixth time at least, which I find ironic since Maddox needs to be strongly coerced to even consider sitting with the jolly ol’ chap. Upon our arrival, we purchased tickets for the train ride and then found ourselves in a mile-long line with at least 500 individuals ahead of us. It was way past Maddox’s, a scheduled-driven child, bedtime, so we were figuring it was going to be a long night. Maddox’s delight and squeals over the lights made the hour and a half we waited in line in the cold worthwhile. “Daddy, look it’s a gingerbread house.” “WOW Mommy, look it’s a candy cane!” I found myself watching her squeal and “oooh” and “aahh” more than I found myself enjoying the lights. I hope she always chooses to see the wondrous beauty of Christmas lights as she did that night. I pray the beauty of Christmas never escapes her and she always is in awe of the joy Christmas brings.
As I have gotten older, the gifts come with fewer surprises, which is not necessarily a bad thing because I am able to pick out exactly what I want or need. Though I prefer to pick out most of my gifts (Momma still likes to surprise us with a few things), I do find myself missing out on the surprise aspect that Christmas morning brings. This year I found a new joy in the presents and a new element of surprise. This year I was able to watch little Maddox tear through each gift she received and witness the glee she experienced as she realized Santa did listen to what she had wanted. Being forced to wake up at 7 a.m. (bless) in order to see what Santa had brought us all was not the way I had planned my Christmas morning to go; I had foreseen it starting at least an hour later, but Maddox Waddox wakes up between 5 and 6 a.m. every morning so I guess her waiting until 7 a.m. was all she could do before she exploded with excitement. Through my groggy stupor I stumbled down the steps, yawning and wishing I could receive an extra hour of sleep, especially with the large day we had ahead, but after hearing and seeing that sweet child’s face I knew sleep was for the weak and I was right where I needed to be. She was shocked she had been so very deserving of all she had received… if we are being honest we were all shocked that Santa believed she had been so very good. Our disbelief came from the fact that there were days we had to “call” the North Pole countless times in order to get her to behave. If I had to hear mom saying, “But girls she is only three” one more time, I thought I would scream. After the gift opening, we began to assemble the toys while Momma and Malone began to prepare Christmas dinner and Maddox squealed with glee. Now the assembling aspect was not something I enjoyed and I hope I am not given that job next year, yet the anticipation in her big brown eyes made it bearable.
Throughout the Christmas weekend, I realized once again just how magical this time of year is. I was reminded how blessed I am to be able to celebrate Christmas with my family and friends. To be surrounded by so many little additions to our family made the time so much more magical. All these little innocent beautiful faces popping in my face constantly to ask can we open presents nowww? It was difficult to even be irritated by the constant nagging because they were so excited. Each household was filled with love and innocence and beauty in the same way that tiny stable had been filled so many years ago. Mary and Joseph had seen that love, innocence, and beauty in the face of Jesus like I was able to see in Maddox’s face. To celebrate the birth of Christ and to relish in the fact that God sent a perfect child, his child, to save us from the harshness of this world. Thinking of the great sacrifice God made humbles me. I am saddened to see Christmas leave. Its beauty and magic bring lots of joy and happiness, especially in the eyes of a three year old. Her expressions and reactions to this past Christmas are ones I’ll treasure and remember forever. I was able to remember the beauty of this holiday and its importance that I feel will never escape me again.