I have a lot of beautiful Christmas memories (and I'm excited to make more today). A few of my favorites are...
Christmas Eve night... the excitement of being halfway through our celebrations. The best night of sleep ever!
Christmas morning... walking downstairs and seeing the presents under the tree magically tripl from late Christmas Eve night to the morning. Stocking full. My parents always amazed me, even when I was older, because they must have been working late into the morning to make it happen! And if Brian or I had an extra big gift, it was often toward the front and we would get extra excited if we knew what it was.
Throughout December, Brian and I would sit in the back seat of the car when we were younger and have Christmas light sighting competitions. I really love remembering that now. Makes me smile. Every house with lights would be a point. I think if one person counted a house, the other couldn't, but I don't remember exactly. I think he always beat me, but that's okay. I think that was normal. ;-)
I wonder what the Christmas memories were for the shepherds, Mary, Joseph... everyone involved with the first Christmas story of Jesus being born. I wonder if the shepherds and wise men thought, "I wonder what happened to that 'newborn king.'" I wonder if they thought they had dreamed the whole thing or that they misheard because Jesus was a king because he essentially wasn't heard from for 12 and then 18 more years. I mean, people knew about him, but I think he just became a "regular" baby in "regular" life over those years of growing up.
I think remembering the first Christmas had to have been something that each one of them should have--and probably did--regularly... remembering the "magic" of the moment, the thrill of the angels singing, the moment Mary heard she was going to be with child, the moment Jesus was born, his first cry... all those things that made that night extra special can easily be forgotten in the humdrum moments of living, but those are the things that set Jesus apart and made Him so special to us and the world.
The same should be true for us: remember the God-given special moments. The moments in His presence. The moments our lives are changed. The Christmas morning we celebrate year after year... everything that has created us to be who we are today...no matter how normal our lives can get with the day-to-day sleeping, eating, playing, working, God has been at work in our lives. I remember that today and smile.