H is for Happiness
This last week I have been privileged to see the happiness that our Australian Christmas festivities and wonderment can bring to a child. That child being my youngest, Jessica.
As a family we have a list of activities we try to do, leading up to Christmas: putting up the Christmas tree and decorating the outside of our house with some Christmas lights, attending Christmas Carols, visiting the Christmas lights in our community, seeing Santa for the annual photo and making Jesus’s birthday cake.
I can’t help but smile at Jessica’s joy for each of these events.
The excitement she experienced each time she saw baby Jesus in the manager. Whether it was the human baby in the nativity play or the baby Jesus in the manager in the nativity scenes around the community, she reacted the same... with utter delight and happiness. (The photo above is of her praying to baby Jesus.)
Her happiness bubbled in the same way when she saw Santa. She yelled out, 'Santa' at the top of her voice and rushed over to him each time.. You'd think every meeting was the first time she'd seen him in her life. Happiness and delight.
And her enthusiastic, ‘Wow’, reaction to the decorated houses with sparkly blinking lights and Christmas characters, made us laugh. Her happiness rubbed off on her father, myself and my son. We couldn't help but be happy too.
On the other hand, my teenager hasn't reacted the same as her younger sister. While out and about, she didn’t show any happiness at all. Barely any interest either. She stuck her ear buds in and walked around, locked in her own world. I'm sure she’d rather have been at home listening to her music or on her devices. The excitement that she exhibited as a young girl, seemed to have gone.
Now, these two different reactions are reflective of people generally. There are people I know who absolutely LOVE Christmas. They seem to thrive on the hustle and bustle, the presents, the events and partying, and the Christmas Day get-togethers. Others though do not share this joy. These people are not grouchy or grinchy. Financial woes, the loss of a loved one, poor health, or just anxiety by the pressure put on them with the season, all take away the happiness of Christmas. This time of year can bring much sadness and stress.
My favourite Christmas movie, is It's a Wonderful Life. You've probably seen it, but if you haven't, the story is set in Bedford Falls, New York, on Christmas Eve 1945, George Bailey is suicidal. Prayers for him reach Heaven and Clarence Odbody, Angel 2nd Class, is assigned to save George in order to earn his angel wings. To prepare Clarence, his superior Joseph shows flashbacks of George's life. The movie outlines what would have happened to George's family and friends, if he hadn't been born. It demonstrates vividly the value of an individual person.
I love this movie because it shows that even though life can be tough, and turn out differently from the way we plan it to, all is not lost. We still have a purpose and are worthy.
If you were born, you are meant to be here on earth.
This movie also tells us that at Christmas time (and throughout the year), we need to find the happiness around us and in the small things, because there are many other people who will have better presents and bigger get-togethers etc. Count our blessings, as they say.
On Friday may we celebrate the joyous birth of our saviour, Jesus Christ, love one another, enjoy each other's company, and support the sad and the suffering around us. Try not to get too hung up on the value of the presents under the tree, or how much food is on the table. In the end that stuff doesn't matter. It will be the family and friends that you love that do.
So with tomorrow being Christmas Eve, I would like to wish you a very blessed Christmas.
I would like to finish with my other family tradition; the sharing of Twas the Night Before Christmas, which my husband reads to the kids before they go to bed.