Every year I claim to myself that I am going to write an official Christmas column. A column good enough to run every Christmas when the days just prior become so rushed and busy.
Something classic and timeless and wonderful. Something that everyone can enjoy year after year. Words that fill hearts with the spirit and cheer of Christmas. A thought provoking piece that reminds all minds the real reason.
I still haven’t written it. At least not yet.
When I do though, it would have to include something about dollar store decorations and candles in frosted windows. Something about downtowns in small towns everywhere, the way they sparkle, twinkle, blink, and glow.
We decorate our houses in similar ways. We aim spotlights at our front entrances and outline our porches with garland and lights – to represent an everlasting light.
We hang wreaths on our windows and doors and mailboxes. Inside we adorn our trees with ornaments that have become as familiar as family.
We display Christmas cards and pictures. We make centerpieces for dining room tables. We hang stockings and fill crystal dishes with rock candy and peppermints and chocolates wrapped in shiny foil.
A true Christmas column would have to include something about how excited kids get. All of them it seems. Even kids who have little reason to expect much, get excited.
Some children and grown-ups alike get excited for Christmas, if for nothing other than the promise of hope.
Hope itself – the absolute and sure hope given by God through Jesus – is a gift. A gift for all generations. A hope that lightens our load, even in the rush of holiday happenings.
To write a real Christmas column, I would necessarily need to write about joy and love and faithfulness. But joy is hard to explain. Because joy is feeling, and so is love. Joy can overwhelm the emotions and override logic, just like love. Both are plentiful and contagious this time of year, or at least they should be…if we are doing Christmas right.
And of course no official Christmas column would be complete without mentioning memories. For some people, memories at Christmas make the rest of the upcoming year worthwhile. Walking back down memory lane is as satisfying to them as waking up on Christmas morning is to a child.
It is why we tell the same stories every year, about the people we loved who told them long before we did.
It is why we make the same cakes and pies and cookies our great grandmother’s baked, using their same recipes.
It is why we look for glimpses of them in the face of every new baby a family is blessed to welcome.
The ideal Christmas column would look back over the past with gratitude and forgiveness, holding to only the good. It would look to the future with assurance and anticipation. And it would serve as a reminder to pause and remember, for now, it is Christmas.
Amanda Walker is a columnist and contributor with AL.com, The Birmingham News, Selma Times Journal, Thomasville Times, West Alabama Watchman, and Alabama Gazette. Contact her at Walkerworld77@msn.com or at https://www.facebook.com/AmandaWalker.Columnist