As I sit here in the dark, the soft light from our Christmas tree is reflected in the cellophane and book covers of the open packages under the tree’s branches. Everything is glowing and golden, and the house is calm.
Children everywhere are passed out in parents’ laps, safely tucked into their beds, or seated upright clutching their new favorite toys, having lost the battle with the sandman, but not having given up without a fight.
I learned something about myself this Christmas. I was able to look back through time and once again experience one of the most joyous moments of my childhood. For one magic moment—a fraction of a second—I experienced what it felt like to be a child. There was no fear, no pain, no stress, and no heartache. There were no stresses about money, and no bills were due. There was only pure, overwhelming, and undying love.
It lasted a fraction of a second, but it cleansed a lifetime of things from my soul.
In the movie A Christmas Story, the boy, Ralphie, desperately wants a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas.
Now, imagine for a moment Ralphie as a man approaching fifty, missing his youth, starting to feel his age, and beginning to realize he’s mortal and not indestructible. He hears a clock ticking, and it frightens him. It’s moving too fast, much faster than he feels it should be.
Also imagine that as a surprise, a loved one gives him a package for Christmas.
Ralphie slowly pulls back the paper wrapped around a vaguely familiar shaped box, and in front of him is another Red Ryder BB gun, the same vintage model from his youth.
This happened to me today, but my BB gun is a plastic spaceship, and my loved one, my incredibly thoughtful partner.
The first time I opened that ship was 35 years ago. Today when I looked inside the box and touched the plastic and held the ship in my hands, I remembered all the stories we’d told together, all of the adventures we’d taken, all of the troubled times it helped me through, and that 35-year gap closed.
For a fraction of a second.
But long enough to see a story that desperately needs (and wants) to be told.
Merry Christmas, my friends!