Why I love Christmas and the holiday season

Published 7:00 pm Wednesday, December 13, 2017

I was born on Sept. 27, exactly nine months and two days after Christmas. I was also born with a birthmark on my left shoulder that was an exact three-inch replica of a Christmas tree in a pot.

“You have a Christmas tree on your arm!”, the kids would shout as I jumped into a pool or played in a sleeveless shirt.  I was proud of my unusual birthmark because there was no one on this earth that loved Christmas more than I.

My mother thought that my obsession with Dec. 25 might wane as I grew older. When young, I would get so excited during the holidays, I would have an asthma attack or break out in a crazy rash, making the holidays a bit difficult for her.

“Lynn, come in from the cold!  You are going to make yourself sicker!” she would shout from the front door.

“But, Mama, it’s Christmas!” I would yell back as if the holiday would save me from myself.

Much to her dismay, I just wheezed and itched my way through the cold, praying for snow. I would gaze into a gray winter sky looking for Rudolph’s red nose and heavenly angels turning gloom to glory. I was very sad when the birthmark faded away after many years.  I outgrew the asthma, the rashes finally subsided, and Mama went to be with those heavenly angels that turned her life into glory.

The years flew by and brought children, grandchildren, joy, sadness, successes and failures. Yet, nothing changed my love and excitement for Christmas. It is the holiday that brings out the best in folks. Now, there are a lot of “Bah Humbugs” out there that say it is too commercial, too busy, too chaotic and too expensive. However, I believe Christmas is what each person makes it to be. My grandmother was not a rich woman, but she made the richest jam cakes every Christmas to give to her friends and family. Cameron, who lives down the street, makes little pumpkin breads to give to all our neighbors. Our Bunko group has a party every year, and instead of giving gifts, we donate money to several charities.

The churches are fuller, the lights are brighter, the air more expectant and folks more giving.  What is there not to love about Christmas? I walked into Hobby Lobby on a hot July day in Georgia and they were putting Christmas ornaments on shelves. People were aghast at the site! July?

Not me. The hair on my arms lifted as if a cold winter chill had seeped into my bones. You can’t celebrate the joy of Christmas too early for this girl. Matter of fact, Christmas is all about joy and celebration.

The world was somber before the first Christmas. Life was living without the hope of forgiveness, without the understanding of a loving father and without realizing that miracles can and do happen.

Christmas brought us hope, salvation and genuine pure love wrapped in swaddling clothes lying on a bed of straw.  If I had been there, I would have decorated a tree, wrapped some presents in burlap and told that new baby Santa was coming!

My childish exuberance has been passed down to my children and grandchildren. The holiday for our family is steeped in tradition, soaked in laughter and topped with joy.

It is always over the top, over the money limit and over the hills my kids still come back to Grandma’s house to experience it.

I cook until I am bone tired. I wrap until my fingers are taped together, and I decorate until the glitter is a permanent feature in my hair.  Celebrating the Christ child should not be about how much trouble Christmas is, but instead, going to the trouble to show someone the joy of loving. On a Christmas evening a few years ago, my granddaughter and I were outside watching an unusual sight in Georgia. Huge snowflakes fell softly from the night as if they were tiny white lace doily’s floating down from heaven. The porch door opened, and my granddaughter’s mother shouted,

“Avery, come in before you catch a cold!”

“But, Mama, it’s Christmas!” she yelled, knowing that Christmas would save her from herself.  Christmas is within your heart. Let it shine this holiday season and always.

Merry Christmas, y’all!