I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard of or remember the biblical story about manna? It's fine if you don’t. The story goes that a long time ago the Israelite people spent quite a while wandering around the desert, and during this time God provided food for them in the form of manna. That word – manna – literally means “what is it?” So you see, its hard to say just exactly what it was, most people think it was sorta like bread. But one thing we do know: the manna lasted for a day and that’s it. If you tried to save or keep some for the next day, by the next day it would be ruined. It sorta reminds us of that phrase: Give us this day our daily bread.
When it comes to Christmas, we often want to try and recreate Christmases-past, those times we remember from years gone by now. Call it sentimentality or whatever you want, I call it being human. We long for things to be like they once were, even if they weren’t exactly the way we remember. In a sense, its like we’re trying to save or keep some Christmas memories for another day. But like the biblical manna, every Christmas last for one season, and then that’s it. Even if your intentions are pure and good, the effort to recreate some past scenario often ends up ruining the season for those you love, and that might include you. The truth is - Christmas simply doesn’t work that way.
I’ve seen over fifty Christmases now, and this I say with a fair measure of confidence. Let this year’s Christmas be this year’s Christmas. Not the one from ten years ago, or the one from when you were a boy. Let it happen the way it's going to happen. By all means be thankful for it, and the wonder and joy it affords. But each Christmas is a new experience, maybe even a fresh start or at least a do-over. This doesn’t mean we don’t sing the same songs and hang the same lights and trim the same tree and attend the same parties. There are constants to the season that make Christmas, well, Christmas. But the way we experience it each year is just a little different. We’re always changing and growing (hopefully), so the thought that we’re exactly the same people we were at this time last year is silly. We’re not. And so our Christmas experience won’t be the same either. And that’s okay. In fact, it's more than okay – it's being human.
So wrap your gifts and deck your halls and rest your merry gentlemen and gentlewomen, and fully enjoy the satisfaction these days can provide. But keep an open mind and heart about what may happen during this most wonderful time of the year. This Christmas is this Christmas. And that’s wise to remember. Things get ruined when we forget that, and nobody really wants to ruin such a beautiful season. Don’t miss the present.
Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!