It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas
The local shops and streets are lit up with Christmas lights.
Electric-powered deer and sleighs dot lawns all over Charlotte.
Santa has set up his perch at the South Park Mall.
Starbucks and Caribou Coffee have the requisite peppermint drinks available. (I like Caribou's drink names: Falalala Latte and Ho ho ho mint mocha.)
There was an organ concert at church tonight.
Choirs, dancers, and actors are preparing for the Christmas concert.
Poinsettias line the edge of the podium at church.
Our tree is up and decorated.
Christmas cookie ingredients are piled high on the pantry shelves.
Christmas music is playing in the living room.
I've pulled my Advent books off the shelves.
I've begun to eye the red and green earrings that I wear only during the month of December.
Steve and I have already promised each other that we won't be excessive with the children's gifts this year.
And deep down inside, in that private cave where my heart hides during most of the year, there is a candle flickering. There is a light breaking through the shadows. I find that I am smiling more. I laugh more easily at my husband's ridiculously goofy jokes. I want to sing Christmas carols day and night.
During my time in New York a couple of weeks ago, one of my friends asked me if I really believed in the Virgin Birth. Isn't it possible, she asked, that it is a story made up by Christ's followers to enhance the story of how good a teacher He was? I told her that I most definitely do believe in the Virgin Birth. If the story of Christ's birth is a lie and He never corrected it, then He isn't a good teacher. He's a liar, and He isn't worthy of any of my praise or worship.
Thinking back on that conversation earlier today, I found myself wanting to sit with my children and reread the story of Christ's birth to them, explaining to them the wonder of carrying a child within one's body, and trying to imagine with them what Mary felt, knowing the true miracle of The Child she bore. This is a magical, mysterious, mind-boggling time of year for me. Every year it seems to be more awe-inspiring.
It is beginning to look and feel a lot like Christmas.
And I am happy.
Not only because my birthday is coming up: nineteen days and counting...
It's not only because I may be heading overseas again in December...
It's not only because several old friendships are being renewed and deepened
and some new ones are getting better day by day...
My spirit is light and joyful because once again
I am waiting here for Love again to be born.