I have the most fabulous teenaged daughter. Sure, she turned to me recently — we were at the Gap and I was singing along with Mick Jagger, doing my best version of the White Woman’s Boogie — and asked, “Were you born embarrassing?” OK, I don’t hold that against her. She’s almost thirteen. She’s supposed to find me utterly embarrassing. It’s her job.
She’s on the cusp of a life passage — less child, more woman. As a result, she sees things from both perspectives. Both wise and wondering.
The other day as we turned a corner we spied lavish and ornate Christmas decorations. She exclaimed with the absolute delight of a child, “Mom, it’s Christmagical!”
Would that we all could look at this time of year as magical. But it’s hard, isn’t it? So much to do. Get a tree. Get it off the car, into the house and on the stand. Haul out the decorations. Well, first you have to find them among the clutter you piled over them in the last twelve months. And buy a new package of those little hooks. Decorate the tree. Get gifts. Special, meaningful, perfect gifts. Wrap said gifts. Mail gifts. Shop for food. Cook food. Bake cookies.
Don’t get me started on The Christmas Card Process. Or How To Fake Holiday Cheer To Get Through Yet Another Christmas Party.
Adult life is not very Christmagical.
This is the point where I could write about The True Meaning of Christmas, but I’ll leave that to Linus (A Charlie Brown Christmas really says it all).
No, I’m going to say this: to really experience the fullness of everything Christmagical you just have to do one thing. You have to be open to unconditional receiving.
You have to be able to turn a corner and gasp because the decorations you see are so beautiful.
You have to allow yourself to tear up when you hear Vanessa Williams sing “Go Tell It On The Mountain.”
You need to get to the place where you accept whatever’s offered you with grace, and kindness, and an acknowledgment that other people are probably doing the best they can.
You have to be willing to let this great big, loving world we live in penetrate your grown up shell, and lift your heart.
You have to remember what it was like to be almost thirteen at Christmas. Remember what it was like to straddle childhood and adulthood — and allow yourself hold on to the best of both in your life, right now.
That’s when you will receive the greatest Christmas gift possible. And, it will be truly Christmagical.
It will be, quite simply, a very merry Christmas.