No.  Not the song.  When I was a kid I thought that song said, “And kids a nation” and wondered what that was all about!  No, I’m talking about Christmas of course!  That wonderful season of delicious scents, melodic sounds, beautiful sights, and such intense feelings that your heart squeezes at the thought.

Do you remember it?  Do you remember that feeling when you first put up the tree and realized that it’s coming?   Do you remember shopping for presents and just about bursting at the thought of having to wait to see if everyone liked them?  Did you wrap and wonder if anyone else got the same thing you did?  Did you wonder if they’d like it?  Did you try to choose wrapping paper to throw them off the scent?  Maybe wrap something small in a big box with a huge rock wrapped in a towel and a few loose beans to totally throw them off the scent or did you wrap an album in aluminum foil and slap a few bows on like my mom did one year.  Cracked me up.  Of course I didn’t know what album it was but there was no doubt that it was an album.

Did you look forward to caroling?  Did you dream of taking goodies to friend’s houses and surprising them?  Did you lie awake at night and day dream about Christmas services at church when the lights were dimmed and the pastor read Luke chapter two with a voice choked with awe that the God of heaven would come down and make Himself vulnerable for sinners?

Did  you ever look forward to the day when you could give something that would really make a difference in someone’s life? I remember I used to think that if I just had a thousand dollars to use however I wanted, that I could give ten people one hundred dollars to help out during the holidays.  It was my Christmas fantasy.  Now I dream of tens of thousands to get friends out of debt, replace worn out vehicles and appliances, send worn out people on vacations. 

Did you ever make crazy Christmas “wish lists” that were miles lng and filled with everything from chapstick to horses!   Anything and everything and other things inbetween went on those lists.  I didn’t really want it all but I loved seeing all the things that people could want.  I loved the possibility of it all and am thankful now that the probability wasn’t there.

Shaking presents.  Taunting recipients.  Long lines at the post office that always seemed a little a symbolic testimony to the long wait to Christmas Day.  Christmas Eve.  Bedtime never seemed to come!  Then the long hours of tossing and turning- too excited to sleep.  Would Dad like his new guitar bag out of gray flannel instead of the old pink one?  What about his blinders for listening to music?  Would mom like her new coffee mug?  Her refillable lighter?  The giant poster sized crossword puzzle?  Why did that little box rattle so much?

We’re in the countdown.  My children are watching the pile of gifts grow and they’re getting excited.  Every day someone brings another one to pile around the tree or takes off to a friend’s house with arms laden with their gifts.  I laugh as I hear someone say, “I forgot Brunhilda’s gift!  How could I forget to get that!” or  “Does anyone know if Hildegaard’s package arrived yet?”  I see them shaking their gifts and speculating.  Of course, someone has let the cat out of the bag on a gift.  They’re feeling pretty terrible about that right now.

Lorna knows which ones are hers, which ones are Emma’s and one of David’s gifts.  The rest are, in her opinion, extraneous and unnecessary.  This year, Ethan’s gifts are huge.  Large boxes taking up massive amounts of space.  He’s just in awe!  His eyes are big and I think he feels extra special to us right now.  If large boxes do that to a kid, it’s worth the space that Playmobil set up will take.  Jenna is going to be shocked out of her skin when she sees one of her gifts.  She’ll love it.

I love this time of year.  The anticipation is everything.  Come Christmas night, I’ll be ready for a fresh new year with “no mistakes in it” as Anne Shirley would say.  However, right now, I’m just enjoying every waking moment that I have as I watch the days until Christmas 2007 fly past me. 

Savor these days.  Don’t let the busyness and the frustrations that come with celebrations rob you of your joy.  I promise you that in fifteen or twenty years you’ll look back with huge regrets if you don’t stop and savor these moments while you can.  Ask me how I know.

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