'Tis the Season once again. I love this time of year, though I do find myself sometimes wishing I could go back and experience Christmas as a young boy again. (I expressed this in my song "Kid Again at Christmas", which you can find here: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/tommyhipps). It was so much fun getting together with the extended family at my grandparents' house... uncles, aunts, cousins, a tall, brightly decorated tree, a mountain of presents and food galore. We weren't well off growing up, so getting presents was an event generally reserved for birthdays and Christmas... and oh, what a thrill. I could hardly contain my excitement on Christmas Eve. I'd lie in bed, listening for Santa, thinking the morning would never come (we were an "open the presents on Christmas morning" family). And an encore of the Thanksgiving meal... we did it all again on Christmas, turkey with all the trimmings. Even school was always more fun around Christmas time... we would make decorations for the classroom, have a little party, sing Christmas carols... and of course, get two weeks off for vacation! Snow seemed deeper, cold weather didn't bother me a bit, winter was a magical playground.
Having said all that about childhood, there is still joy to be found at Christmas. Even when life hasn't turned out like you may have expected... when you've lost loved ones in the past year... when you're struggling financially... whatever difficulties may be happening in your life. When you get older, there seems to be more to worry about, and aging itself is generally unwelcome. But every now and then, I get what we in our family call a "Christmas tinglie"... a sudden, brief wave of joy that washes over me. A feeling that even with all the trouble in the world, and whatever challenges I'm facing in my own life, that there is a God, a Savior, and he came to earth to live among us. "For unto you a Savior is born..." It's amazing how a firm belief in all this can change your perspective. Sure, we want to live happy, healthy lives, but in the end it's all so very temporary. We live out our time on earth, and that's that. But heaven is amazing, wonderful, peaceful... and forever (though our minds can't really grasp that). So why not celebrate the birth of the One who makes it all happen (and who cares if it wasn't really on December 25)? Why not allow ourselves some deep-seated, honest-to-goodness Christmas joy? It's fitting!
Someone once suggested we imagine each and every Christmas light we see... every one of them on every house and on every tree... as a soul who's found heaven. When I look at a Christmas display with that mindset, it's worth a good "tinglie".
Merry Christmas, everyone, and may God bless you.
P.S. My Christmas Peace album is available at: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/tomhipps3 I'd be honored if my music was part of your soundtrack to the Holiday Season!