“But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)
Our girls have always been wide-eyed with anticipation and expectation when Christmas rolls around. It is our family’s favorite time of the year. From the moment the Christmas tree went up, the lights were hung on the outside of the house, or the garland strands draped around doorways inside…..something exciting changed in their little worlds and the anticipation began.
There were cookies to be baked, gifts to be wrapped, and carols to be sung. There were, of course, church Christmas programs to prepare for and attend. All of this only served to heighten their level of expectation and the countdown of days “until” rolled on. With a growing anticipation of the season there came an increased expectation and realization of what would unfold on Christmas morning.
Not lost in the anticipation and expectation with our girls has been their understanding of the meaning of Christmas. David Meece wrote a song that included these words, “As little children we would dream of Christmas morn, And all the gifts and toys we knew we'd find. But we never realized a baby born one blessed night, Gave us the greatest gift of our lives…”
Even with all the songs, decorations, cookies, and gifts…it was about something greater on Christmas morning. It has always been about the celebration of the birth of our Savior, about family being together and sharing the common faith that we hold in Christ. That is the greater expectation that continues in their lives even today as adults. Their hearts are joyfully in tune with the meaning of Christmas.
I suppose for a particular young girl centuries ago the anticipation and expectation could have been easily overshadowed by the moment. Lost in her fear and uncertainty, she could have missed it. Though she really had no idea of all that would come, she paused long enough in the celebration of the shepherds to treasure the moment. In later years of life, the memories of that lonely and scary night in that dingy little stable probably never faded and would undoubtedly draw her back to a time of joy and greater meaning.
Now even as grown women, our girls continue to cherish and treasure the meaning of Christmas. Two of them have young families and children of their own. Their children's eyes and hearts are equally as full each Christmas. The anticipation and expectation of Christmas will probably never dim in their sparkling blue eyes – nor should it.
Using the creative tools of music, art, and movement, Cheryl plants seeds of faith to change children's lives for the better through our children’s worship programming. Motivated to help others plug into First Dallas, John connects visitors and new members to Sunday School, membership, and ministry. Cheryl and John, have three daughters, all of whom grew up at First Dallas.