Once upon a December

One of my favorite animated children’s movies is Anastasia. I am not sure why I like the movie, but I have always been a sucker for the happy ending – the Cinderella-type story. Yes, there is a bad guy and there is sadness and sorrow, but there’s also redemption, grace, and love. In the movie, Anastasia has memories that she can’t quite piece together. As she tries to recall her past, there are things that she “almost remembers, once upon a December.” Thankfully, before the end of the movie she recovers her memory and is reconciled with her long lost grandmother.

Whenever a story starts with “Once upon a time …” we usually think of it as a fairytale and it almost always has a happy ending. At Christmas, there are many stories and songs that represent the make-believe of the season. As parents, Brent and I have chosen to participate in some of the non-religious and non-real parts of Christmas. We like watching Frosty come alive, Rudolph save the day and always enjoy watching George Bailey discover his wonderful life through an angel sent to earth to help him.
We have tried to make a clear distinction between make-believe and reality with our kids, whether it comes to Disneyland or Christmas fun. As far as I can tell, the kids grew up with an understanding of it all and didn’t experience confusion or doubt.

So it goes without saying really that one of my favorite parts of Christmas is children … their wonder and delight! I’ve been thinking lately about good ‘ol Saint Nick … Kris Kringle .. the jolly fat man in the red suit, the one they call Claus. We’ve mentioned him a couple of times to our 3 yr old and I can tell he is trying to figure it all out. I realize that Santa has been glorified in many homes and vilified in others, but the truth is that sometimes, even as adults, we “fear” that he really is watching us and maybe he knows if we’ve been bad or good. So we try real hard, especially in December, to be good. After all, who wants to awake on Christmas morning to a lump of coal? Not me. That’s no happy ending!
So, what a relief it is that Santa is just a fictional character. I am so thankful that today I am able to do more than “almost remember” some long ago time. It’s a REALITY in my life daily. For “once upon a December … unto us was born” a Savior, who is Christ the Lord! (And yes, I realize that most bible scholars believe it was probably spring.)

The reality is this: Everyday of my life, I wake up to the truth that God so loved me that He gave His Son for me, even knowing everything about me. I didn’t deserve it. I certainly haven’t been good enough. And He has most definitely been watching! The bible says in Psalm 33 that “the Lord looks down from heaven, and He sees all the children of man. From where He sits enthroned, He looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth. The One who fashions the hearts of them all observes all their deeds.” I might be sad if it ended there! But then it says, “And His steadfast love is always upon us!”
Oh, yes! The bells are indeed ringing … Peace on earth, good will to men.

And THAT’s the happy ending for all who know the Savior. And THAT’s the reality of CHRISTmas! 🙂

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