I’ve rediscovered something this year that I haven’t felt in a long time: the magic of Christmas.
I felt the magic of Christmas before I had children. I always loved Christmas: the music, the decorations, the story of a miracle baby born in a stable under a mysterious star in the sky and angels singing the news to shepherds. It was magical how people could suddenly become pleasant and show their best sides, making Peace on Earth and Good Will Towards Men seem possible. Christmas magic even made winter bearable – as much as I hate cold weather, the warmth of Christmas was even more magical against a background of snowy white.
I felt the magic when my now-adult sons were little; I think then it had something to do with the mystery of Santa Claus, and what he might bring. When there are three little boys running around, say ages 3, 5, and 8, sugared up, excited, and slightly out of control, it’s easy to see the energy of Christmas. Add a mysterious jolly stranger (complete with elves and flying reindeer) who’s going to bring you everything you want while you’re sleeping, and suddenly magic is everywhere.
But those little boys grew up. Now they’re 23, 25, and 28. At some point, the magic drained away and Christmas became just about making sure I got the right gifts for everyone, got the house decorated, made something everyone likes for dinner on Christmas Eve, and wrote thank-you notes within a reasonable time. When stress is allowed to take over, magic is hard to find.
So why is the magic back this year? I made a decision to refuse the stress of the season and I’ve allowed myself the joy of feeling the magic. It’s not that the magic wasn’t there along – I was just too old and too stressed to feel it. No, I haven’t gotten younger – but I’ve tried to let myself feel younger. I believe that the magic of Christmas is something only children can feel, and that adults only feel it when they allow themselves to be children again. The adult parts of me are still cleaning and shopping and decorating and wrapping and meal-planning. But I’ve been shoving those parts of me out of the way as often as possible this year to make way for my – yes, I’ll say it – my inner child to take over and feel the magic. The joy that magic brings has leaked over into my adult self – so that things that are normally stressful have actually been fun.
I suspect there’s magic I’ve been missing in many aspects of my life, if I shove that stressed adult out of the way and let my child self respond to the magic. I’m looking forward to finding out in 2014.