It’s five thirty am. I’ve awakened repeatedly during the night, listening to see if our daughter has crept down the stairs yet.
I’ve put the coffee on, hoping that the aroma will waft up to our daughter’s room and stimulate her neurons, waking her gently. My husband is in the shower. I think he’s excited too.
His mom was telling about a Christmas when he was little and stayed up until 4 am trying to get a glimpse of Santa. Poor Santa had to keep coming back and checking to see if Phil was asleep yet so he could leave the gifts. Santa and the reindeer were exhausted by the time they got everything delivered. I hope our daughter never shows quite that much determination (at least on the seeing Santa at work issue).
My family in Atlanta called last night; Christmas was at my sister’s on Christmas Eve. One of her sons now has a girlfriend whose family has a great Christmas tradition. Everyone who is going to be together to open gifts on Christmas morning exchanges names. The person who gets your name buys you a set of pajamas to wear on Christmas morning when you open presents. My nephew will be participating in her family’s tradition this year. How fun.
Still no peep from my daughter, but I am beginning to “wake up and smell the coffee”.
I did my first Christmas knitting ever this year, a new tradition. My first project was a knitted hat for my Dad. I thought, quite honestly, that it was way too big, but Dad, like any good dad, said he loved it because, to quote him “when I pull it down over my ears, it will stay down.” Daddies are great.
My dad tells a story about Christmas when he was a little boy. My Grandpa Arduengo, owned a bicycle shop in Tampa, FL, and Christmas time was one of his busiest seasons. Parents and Santa would order lots of bicycles from Grandpa and ask him to store them until Christmas Eve. One Christmas Eve, when my daddy and his sister had asked for bicycles, Grandpa and Santa had gotten so busy assembling and delivering bicycles to all the other little girls and boys in Tampa that Grandpa didn’t get their bicycles put together. Daddy and his sister were fine with that. They thought it was really neat that Grandpa helped out Santa. Grandma Arduengo, however, was not happy, and I understand that Santa made a special visit Christmas night to the Arduengo household.
It looks like Santa left a box of chocolate octagon cookies by our daughter’s stocking. Yum.
According to the Christian calendar the season of Christmas begins with Christmas Day and goes until Epiphany. Yes, Christmas is a season, but it is not the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, that is the season of preparation, Advent. Christmas lasts until Epiphany.
One of the final lines of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol contains these words about the transformed Scrooge: “and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us.”
Perhaps the season of Christmas then, is where we get to practice keeping the spirit of Christmas in our hearts—living the love, the generosity, the kindness, the family memories that the season of Advent and Christmas Day have brought to us.
Perhaps Christmas season is where I get to practice waking up each morning with the excitement of a toddler on a new day, ready to learn new things and explore the world around me in all of its glory, living life as the precious gift that it is.
Perhaps Christmas is the time that I prepare myself for an Epiphany. Indeed, I do hope it is said of me, and of you too, that we know how to keep Christmas well, all year long.
© 2009 Michele Arduengo. All rights reserved.