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Something about Christmas

There’s something I love about Christmas that I can’t quite put into words.

Daylight fades early, nighttime settles in with a chill and you feel yourself drawn inside, toward home. There’s a coziness about how we all gravitate to our houses, close the door against the dark and the cold air, and nestle in.

I love that it gets dark early.

I love the “us against the outside world” feeling I get all cuddled up by the fireplace, or riding in the car enveloped by warmth, even as the freezing air presses against the other side of the window, watching the Christmas lights twinkle against the black of night.

I love the familiarity of the Christmas story.

In fifth grade Sunday school class, we memorized Luke 2 – the story of Jesus’ birth – and while over the years my memory has faded, still the words of the chapter carry that a hazy familiarity, some verses familiar from Christmas songs and others from reading the story over a lifetime.

I love the way the words are pieced together, how the comforting phrases ease in and out, reminders of Christmases from forever ago.
“And she brought forth her firstborn Son… wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger… no room in the inn… good tidings of great joy… Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth, peace…”

When I read the story, I can hear the choir in the background, the melodies of my favorite Christmas songs as a soft accompaniment.

I can see the nativity scene, the brilliant star casting perfect light.

There’s something cozy there, too. Mary and Joseph and the shepherds drawn inside against the darkness, sharing in a moment too humble for its significance.

For this instant, the ripple of change hasn’t yet spread across history. It’s confined here, in a barn, among a small group who watches the newborn in awe. Angels are singing and heaven is rejoicing, but the earth is still and quiet, like the moment just before the orchestra sounds its first note, right as the conductor raises his baton and the crowd draws their breath in expectation.

It’s the feeling of hope.

I can’t quite put it into words, but there’s something I love about Christmas.

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