I didn’t have the Christmas spirit. Granted, finding the Christmas spirit is a lot harder at my age. As an adult, it is hard to find that sense of magic and wonder, that feeling that everything is perfect. It is hard because as adults we know that there are bad things out there. There is evil, war, violence, sadness, and a whole host of other assorted miseries that make things seem very far from perfect. Knowing all this keeps us from seeing the world as we once did, before we knew what we know now.
Which brings us back to my lack of Christmas spirit. I am a happy person by nature, but for some reason I didn’t feel that certain cheery spark that comes this time of year. Maybe it’s all that’s going on in the world, maybe it’s seeing all I’ve seen and reading all I’ve read. Heck maybe it is the odd weather we have been having (it is hard to get holly or jolly when the weather is 70 degrees!) Whatever it is kept me from being merry and bright.
Then it happened. Today (December 24th as I write this) my wife and I took our niece and her grandmother (my mother in law), to the mall to see Santa. Her name is Nia and she is just shy of a year and a half old. She had no desire to see Santa and quite frankly didn’t know or care who he was. In fact when we put her on Santa’s lap she cried loud enough to be heard at the North Pole! She was fine shortly after being removed from Santa’s lap, but I fear I may have tainted her feelings towards jolly old Saint Nick. However bad I felt about making her cry, I did feel good because that trip put me in the Christmas spirit better than anything had in a long while!
No, it was not seeing her head explode from being put on a stranger’s lap against her will. In fact my return to Christmas spirtness (yeah I know it’s not a word), had little to do with the Christmas related activities at all. The reason why I feel so good right now is for the brief time we were there I got to see the world through Nia’s eyes. Having made it to the ripe old age of 17th months, Nia has made great strides in her development. She has graduated from crawling to walking, she can speak a few words, she do some cute things like blow kisses and say “umm” when she wants food, and she realized she doesn’t like rotund men in red coats with white beards (that development is fairly new!)
With every new development, Nia has been more and more able and willing to see all that is out there. She can walk to things, she can move things, she can throw things (which she does frequently) and she can explore the world around her. Every step, everything she comes in contact with, everyone she meets (except Santa) is new and exciting and enough to thrill her to no end! The look on her face as she rambled across the food court in the mall (saying “umm” trying to get someone to feed her) was one of pure joy and wonder. To everyone there it was just a shabby food court, but to her it was a brave new world. We took her to the indoor play space next to the food court, and upon seeing all the play things and kids running around, her mind was blown. She looked as if she saw the heavens and not a plain old play space.
It is that sense of wonder that we as adults have lost. It is all “been there done that” with us, and we are hardly impressed or amazed by anything. We slog through life not noticing the wonder and beauty around us and letting all the bad out there weigh us down. Christmas spirit? We are lucky if we have any spirit at all. As for me, the lesson I learned today that was taught to me by a Santa fearing one and a half year old is that there is magic, beauty and wonder in the world, it just depends on how you look at it.There are great things all around us, and lots of reasons to smile. Maybe it is a small kind gesture from a stranger, an amazing sunset on an odd 70 degree December day, or just the look on the face of a little girl who sees nothing but beauty all around her. There is a lot of bad in this world, of that there can be no doubt, but there is way more good.
In the New Year, may we all see the world through the eyes of a child
Big Joe 🙂