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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Where Are You Christmas?

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I was at the end of my rope.

I finally had all of the Christmas decorations ready to be set out, the festive music of the season playing and the tree purchased and waiting to be wrapped with strings of colorful lights. I plugged in the lights for their annual test-run and sighed. Only one strand was working.

Two of my youngest kids were rummaging through the box full of ornaments which sat beside me on the floor. "Careful, guys!" I warned. "Lots of those can break." They moved to the piano to admire the nativity.

I sat, cross-legged on the floor next to the tree for nearly 2 hours, painstakingly removing and replacing each light in an attempt to find and repair the one bulb which was preventing the others from glowing. As I did so I reflected on the lack of Christmas spirit I was experiencing this year. Where are you, Christmas? I wondered. The beginning verses to this song seemed to play over and over in my head and I found myself growing more melancholy as I worked. I had 3 colors working on one strand and 4 on the other but the dead bulbs detracted from what I wanted to accomplish. Again, a sigh. After 17 years it was time to purchase new lights for the tree.

I stood to stretch my cramped legs and noticed that the nativity scene had been rearranged into a small cluster on the piano. I placed each piece back into its proper position and went to the kitchen to set up Santa's Village. When I was finished I collected the now useless lights in a grocery sack and placed them near the door. I went to grab my purse and noticed the nativity, once again, all pushed into a corner. I knew this was the doing of my 5-year-old boy, Hubba, as I had seen him push the nativity together numerous times already. As I rearranged the pieces I wondered if this was all worth it; setting everything up only to have it moved around so that I would need to organize it all over again and again and again. "Hey, everyone!" I announced as I left to purchase new lights. "I'm leaving! Keep the little kids away from the piano, please!"

I ventured out onto the snowy roads, found the lights as well as a few Christmas gifts I needed, waited in a long line to make my purchase and then headed back home. As soon as I walked through the front door I noticed the nativity again, all crowded together. Again I moved each piece where I wanted them to be. I noticed Hubba peeking at me from around the corner.

"Hubba!" I scolded, exasperated. "I asked you to leave these alone. Why do you keep messing them up?"

"They're not messy, mom. They like being in a circle."

Frustrated, I turned to look him in the eye. "They do NOT like being in a circle. The wise men want to stand over here, the shepherd and his sheep want to be over there, and the angel wants to stay right here," I told him.

"But I thought they all camed to see Jesus," he said to me. "It's Jesus' birfday, and they want to see him. I was just helping them see him more better. 'Cause that's Chris-mis, right mom?"

And that's where I found Christmas. Right there on my piano, in the middle of a cluster of nativity figures. The reason we celebrate and decorate and give gifts and sing carols and promote peace on earth, good will to men all December long. I just needed Hubba to rearrange the nativity - and my way of thinking - so I could see things more clearly.

Yes, Hubba, that is Christmas. Thanks for helping me remember.


Holmes said...

Beautifully said, Gerb. Thanks for sharing. I too have had a hard time finding Christmas, especially with all that has gone on this year. But it is all around us in so many ways. Like you said, we just need to remember...

Brown Thumb Mama said...

Give Hubba an extra hug for me today. Just what I needed to hear!

Lori said...

Speechless, Gerb.

Well, almost. But then, I'm rarely without words.

1) Your Hubba's perception amazes me. It's beautiful. 2) I love the photograph. It's beautiful. 3) Where Are You Christmas ranks among my top 5 all time favorite Christmas songs. It's beautiful. 4) This post now ranks among my top five favorites.


Karin said...

What a beautiful reminder.

We've had similar problems with lights. One year we just wrapped the lights back and forth across the front of the tree and put it in the corner of the room. The one working string of lights had to do that year.

Great post. Thanks.

Richard & Natalie said...

What an absolutely beautiful post- in every way. I'm teary. I'm so glad for those little ones who remind us what Christmas is all about.
BTW- I started the day with "Where are you Christmas?" it is one of my favorites.

Amanda said...

I linked this on my blog; hope you don't mind, Gerb :D

cari said...

I have been starting to get a little stressed about Christmas then I read this. It was just what I needed to be reminded of. Thank you! I love the wisdom of children!

Teachinfourth said...

Sometimes we all could use a re-arrangement of thought...welcome to Christmas.

Gerb said...

Holmes- Amen. It is all around us if we remember to find it. And Rebecca... please never forget that in my eyes you are beyond awesome.

BTM- Done!

Lori- I am pretty confident in saying that that was one of the nicest compliments I have ever received. And 1)He came that way. 2)Coming from you, I am very flattered. 3)Amen! 4)Wow. Now I'm speechless.

Karin- I almost did something like that because I dreaded buying new lights. But I love having a well-lit tree too much!

Natalie- I often wonder if I was blessed with so many kids so I'll have even more opportunity to learn.

Amanda- I don't mind, in fact I am honored. Thanks.

Cari- Amazing what a 5-year-old can teach, isn't it? I'm glad it served as a nice reminder for you, too.

T5th- Thanks. It's nice to have finally arrived.

Rachel said...

Reminds me of a post I wrote at this time last year.....


Good thing we have little ones that keep us in line eh?

Merry Christmas!!!

Sarah said...

I'm grateful for little voices and grateful for those who share those little voices with others. Thanks Gerb!

Gina said...

Thank you. Thank you for this post. What a wonderful reminder. Love that Hubba!

Anaise said...

Hooray for Hubba!

Gerb said...

Rachel- Wow. Talk about sharing similar experiences! Looks like your little girl taught you the same lesson my Hubba taught me - and in the same way, too. I loved reading your story. Thanks for sharing the link.

Sarah- Me, too. Those little voices sure seem to have a lot to teach me.

Gina- It was definitely what I needed to be reminded of this year.

Anaise- He's a pretty smart little kid. ;)

Mel said...

Your kids are Awesome!

Kimm said...

Why do I always cry when I read your posts?? Thanks once again for helping me feel the spirit!

Gerb said...

Mel- I would have to agree. ;)

Kimm- Wow. Sorry about the crying... happy tears, right? I'm glad the story touched you the same way it did me.

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