Month: November 2011

Black Friday?

I’ve looked forward to this day with more anticipation than I have in years, and I won’t step foot in a store.

With childlike enthusiasm, I’ve looked forward to officially beginning the Christmas season – playing our Christmas CD’s, putting up our Fraser Fir tree, decorating the house, and celebrating the season with my family and friends.

Jeni and I have recently gotten to the place where we believe we don’t need anything. I used to get soooo annoyed, when I would ask my dad what he wanted for Christmas and he’d answer, “don’t spend your money on me, I don’t need anything.

That’s why he got dress socks!

But now I understand, and I might answer that question the same way. (But don’t get me dress socks)

The Runners

However,  yesterday an interesting phenomena occurred. After our first, and probably my last, Thanksgiving 10K, we were watching the Macy’s Parade and flipping through the Black Friday ads. Jeni later shared how she didn’t want anything for Christmas, but while looking through the colorful pages she found desire had been born.

Oh, that would be nice.
We could use one of those.
Andrew would love that!

Have you been there?

I think I’m beginning to hate “Black Friday.”

We’ve had this new “tradition” thrust upon us by marketing firms and advertising gurus, and swallowed it hook, line, and sinker. I agree with Charlie Brown.

I don’t want you to feel bad if you are spending the day shopping, not at all. This isn’t an anti-materialism post, it’s more of a pro-all the other stuff post. I just want to share what today means to me and why I’ve so looked forward to its arrival.

It’s the nostalgia of Christmases gone by.

I smile when I hear Neil Diamond sing “The Little Drummer Boy” or Mannheim Steamroller’s Christmas songs, because my mom loved them and they were the soundtrack to Christmas in the Sprague home.

I savor the smell of a Christmas tree in our living room and cookies baking.

Christmas lights draped all over our house makes me happy, and I couldn’t tell you why. I just like it.

I remember sitting on the staircase with my sisters and brother, anticipating the joyful moment when Christmas morning exploded into view.

But now, I see it from a new perspective. No longer just a receiver, I have the joy of knowing Christmas as a husband and father. I get excited about sharing the season with my sons, and making Jeni’s December one of surpassing joy.

I like hiding gifts from my kids. I look forward to setting up the Christmas train with the boys, and sitting in front of a fire with Jeni. The soundtrack has changed, but I anticipate dancing around the living room to our Christmas songs and smiling until my cheeks hurt.

But perhaps the thing I most look forward to, is sharing the season with others.

Turkey Dinner Outside - Myles Standish Style

We had twenty-two smiling faces around our table yesterday, and I loved every minute of it. I’m thankful that our families would agree to live out of suitcases and sleep on the floor just to share those moments together. I look forward to loading suitcases in the back of the Party Bus and heading to Atlanta to return the favor and enjoy their hospitality as well.

And that, to me, is what makes this season so special. People setting comfort aside, to share life with others. It’s beautiful, and hearkens of the First Noel.

Ever since 1997, I’ve been able to enjoy Christmas from the perspective of a Christian – one who’s grateful that our Creator set comfort aside to share His life with us.

I wonder what God felt when He wrapped forgiveness and gave Him to His children? Was He being playful, like a parent hiding presents from their kids, when He hid Grace in that stable? Did He cry when the gift was opened? I wonder…

Today isn’t “Black,” not to me. If sunrise was a color, that’s what color it is to me. It’s a dawn,  a time of anticipation and consummation at the same time. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year, and I’m glad it’s finally here. No more waiting, the Christmas songs will play. No more stifling, I will sing the songs of the season.

What child is this who lays to rest on Mary’s lap is sleeping?

A newborn king to see. Emmanuel. Joy to the world!