Christmas morning and bicycles will always be tied together in my mind. I vividly recall stumbling out to the living room in footsie pajamas and seeing a shiny pink bicycle, complete with flowered banana seat, waiting for me by the Christmas tree. Three years later I found a beautiful, blue Bianchi ten speed with my name on it standing by the tree. And many, many years after that my husband bought me Frank the Tank for Christmas.
To this day I love going for a spin in my neighborhood just after Christmas to see all the wobbly wheeled kids strapped in helmets navigating the sidewalks on sparkly new bicycles. This post is in anticipation of all the new bicycles that will hit the pavement for the first time Christmas morning.
There’s something magical about Christmas. Maybe it’s the carols floating through the air or the scent of cinnamon permeating, well, everything. Whatever it is, even this glitter-hating, heart full of unwashed socks Grinch of a girl softens up just a bit.
Everywhere I look there’s joy and delight. I’m not talking about the aisles of Christmas accoutrements in the stores. I’m talking about the moments that cause me to stop and smile for an extra second or two. Like opening the mailbox and having stacks of Christmas cards spill out.
Or the smell of the first snow and the glory of a tarnished world turning white before my eyes.
Not to mention the pure pleasure of flopping down in the snow and flapping my arms and legs until a snow angel arches her wings underneath me.
It’s the little things that tickle me most like candy canes hooked over the edges of mugs of hot cocoa or a snowman peeking over his carrot nose.
At night the world is all a-twinkle, lights shining bright into the dark, calling up to the stars that sparkle in response.
There’s joy in finding the perfect tree. Maybe it’s a spindly Charlie Brown tree you found on a mountain top and cut down with your mittened hands.
Or maybe you take home the thickest tree from the corner lot.
No matter where your tree came from, pulling the boxes of ornaments out of the attic, turning on your favorite Christmas music and adorning each branch makes for a perfect day.
When I was a kid, my brothers and sister and I piled into one bedroom on Christmas Eve. We’d giggle in our sleeping bags and
sometimes always sneak a peek at the presents. But the best part of the night was listening for Santa’s sleigh on the roof.
Every tapping tree against the windows and each creak of the house became absolute proof of prancing and pawing hooves.
We’d crane our necks and cock our ears to the side, convincing my little brother that Santa was hard at work while we squirmed in our sleeping bags.
In the morning, the cookies we’d baked for Santa were only crumbs left on the plate next to an empty glass of milk.
Christmas morning began with stockings, the toe of the stocking stuffed with an apple and an orange that went straight to the kitchen fruit bowl despite my mother’s tales of how children used to cherish Christmas oranges. She had a point, but it was only later in the day when I’d made myself sick by eating my entire Book of Lifesavers that I’d eat the orange.
My mother was a master gift wrapper, each gift wrapped in beautiful paper, with military corners and a shiny bow on top. The presents I’d wrapped were always a rumpled disaster of paper that would never lay down flat and yards of Scotch tape to hold it all together.
These days my favorite part of Christmas is when my husband and I sit on the couch underneath piles of blankets and read the story of Mary and Joseph and the night they welcomed my Christ to Earth.
After the gifts have been opened and all the Lifesavers and oranges have been eaten, we sing O Holy Night and hope that God hears us amongst the choirs of heavenly hosts. We offer our praise in exchange for the gift of his Son. On Christmas and the rest of the year we are profoundly grateful for God’s grace that somehow makes our meager offerings enough.