I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the treetops glisten and children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow
I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmases be white
I have just listened to this song three times through now with my hands at my side and my memories running through Christmases past. I can remember the excitement of opening up the box that held my nintendo. There is the agony of taking the long, scenic route home from church Christmas Eve so everybody could “oooh, ahhhh, pretty” all the houses lit up. There is the joyful yet bitter cold of participating in a living nativity. I remember teaching my brothers the lyrics to Yo-ho-ho (by DC Talk) so they could perform it on our family Christmas “talent show”. I have been daydreaming of Christmases past and it is too much fun to stop and start writing for all of you.
The thing with dreams is how they are skewed. Depending on how we are made or how we chose to remember a day or event, we tend to either remember only the good and gloss over the rough or the opposite. I remember the beauty of last Christmas when I got to visit the true home in Demre, Turkey (where St Nikolaus was the bishop of Myra). I remember touring that castle, and visiting the old amphitheatre and tombs, and speaking with some Russians who have moved to the small city because Jolly old St Nick is also the patron saint of that cold country. What I tend to forget is the many, many times on my personal tour I would have to stop and rest because I was not quite fully recovered from the killer flu that had kept me almost bedridden for half the month. I forget the lonely evening all alone in my hotel room waiting for a good time to skype with the family seven time zones and thousands of miles away.
I remember the Christmas reunion the year before where I knew it would probably be the last one with so many in the family. I remember the Christmas games, watching the young cousins growing faster than weeds, the great food and conversation. I tend to forget that the drive up which normally takes less than two hours easily took three times that with each mile fearful for my life because of the whiteout conditions that had me scared for my life the whole way up route 81.
I remember so many good memories and like Bing Crosby (or Lauren Daigle) I long to be able to immerse myself once more in the idyllic joy of Christmas past. The question is, where does one draw the line between being grateful for the joys of the past and creating a fantasy in the mind that keeps us from being content with what we have in the present. Honestly, I don’t know what this Christmas will hold. I know it will not be a trip to Demre, let alone a visit with the family back home. I am confident that it will add some great memories that I will be able to add to the pantheon of past holidays in my mind, but less than three weeks away I still don’t know what they will be. I do know that each moment in these next twenty days I have a choice. Will I chose to see the joy of this moment and do my best to make this day all I can to celebrate His incarnation? Or will I pine away over a fictional past that only remembers half the story and long for a type of life I will never again have (and never truly had to begin with)?
I do not know what Christmas will look like for you. I don’t know the traditions you once cherished that will be no more. I don’t know the people with whom you once celebrated who will now be gone. I don’t know what your dreams of a perfect Christmas will look like. I do know that whatever this season brings, it will in many ways be worse than those dreams. I also know that if you look for them, there will also be surprises that God will bring your way which will be better than anything you could have dreamed of. So even if this Christmas is not just like the ones you used to know, even if this Christmas is not washed in white, I will still this blessing write: May your days be merry and bright, and may you on this Christmas be His light.