I have always loved Christmas music and I don’t just listen to it in December either. I have been known to listen to “The Christmas Song” on the first day of Spring, “Jingle Bells” during the worst heat of Summer, and “Let it snow” while the leaves are peaking in the Fall. This year thanks to the gift of a new record player I was even able to play some of my Mom’s old Christmas records from my childhood.
For the first time in years I was able to put a vinyl album on a turntable and listen to the sweet sounds of Christmas coming from it. As “Joy to the world” flowed from the speakers I smiled, closed my eyes, and allowed the music to awaken a thousand Christmas memories that still lived in my heart.
There was my Mom laughing when she caught me under the tree opening all of the presents before anyone else woke up. There was my Dad smiling and cutting down the world’s ugliest Christmas tree that I had picked out over my brothers’ objections. There was the sparkle in my Mom’s eyes when she opened the gift I had saved my money for months to buy her. There were the cheers I heard as I went from room to room in my fake beard and red suit, playing Santa Claus for the elementary school I was teaching at. There was the time when I could only afford a few stuffed animals for my children on Christmas and their eyes shone with delight anyway.
There was the time when my son who had struggled to speak because of his Autism spoke his first full sentence when he saw the Christmas tree all lit up at his elementary school. There was the time when I drove through a blizzard to bring my daughter home from college in time for the holidays. There was the year we decided to ditch the turkey and instead honor my Dad and Nana by making a big, Italian style Christmas dinner thus creating a whole new family tradition.
I opened my eyes as the record played on and felt so much joy. I felt too what had made all of those memories so special: LOVE. It was the Love we had for each other. It was the Love our Heavenly Father had for all of us. It was the Love that lived in that tiny baby, born in a manger who would change this world forever.
The spirit of Christmas will always be the spirit of Love. It is Love that we were meant for.
It is out of Love that we were created. It is to Love that we will all return. May your heart be full of Love then at Christmastime and always.