There's always a lot of talk at this time of year about the commercialization of the holiday and the loss of the Spirit of Christmas. My guess is that the retailing of Christmas has been "the talk" since long before Santa ever stuffed my first stocking back when my dad worked three jobs just to keep us fed and clothed. There's no denying now how much of a sacrifice my parents made in the Christmas seasons past to get my two sisters and I exactly what we were hoping for year after year.
Christ is still in Christmas in our house. Our manger is prominently displayed in our living room with it's full cast of characters. Yes, the baby Jesus is already in the crib. Even in my childhood, I never really embraced the "procession" of Jesus to the manger on Christmas eve. He's hanging out in all his wonderous glory with Mary, Joe, the Wise Guys and the drummer kid with his little shoulder-slung snare. The cows and sheep are even kept in check in spite of the fact that the fencing has come unglued and they could potentially be free ranging it if they so choose. We've read the story of the birth of Christ a couple of times from our Usbourne Family Bible so that Bam-Bam can learn the "there's no room in the Inn" line too. Well rounded we are.
To me though, there are two Spirits of Christmas. The biblical one and as much as people scream about it, the commercialized one. Both of them have their place. I won't argue that the more important one is the celebration of Christ. But there can be no denying the magic of Christmas in children. I admit that before Bam-Bam came along, the concept was really beyond me. Tonight as he stood in front of Santa at the mall chatting with the most realistic looking Santa I've seen in a while, the second spirit of Christmas filled me. It obviously helped that this was the first time he's talked to Santa since past years have been a fearful bust.
But as he told the Big Dude that all he wanted was some cars, I couldn't help but think that, like it or not, the excitement of Christmas is undoubtedly the hope and promise of Santa in children. That year after year, they recite their wishes and mail their lists to nowhere hoping that they will get those things because in the end, they've been good. That when they decend the stairs and peek under the tree, that miracle will come true and after all the watching he's done, Santa's somehow got it right.
The panic I have now is the wait to see if Tall Boy's check tomorrow will be enough to make Santa the miraculously magical man he's supposed to be at our house next week.