(While I'm still attempting to finish my Christmas letter for this year--oh, let's be honest. I haven't started it yet, although I have great ideas for it!--I thought I'd republish an essay I wrote last year for my blog. I used it in my letter last year and it still has meaning for me. Hope you enjoy it again. And I promise that my new letter will be on here soon. Or at least as quickly as I get it written.)
“The One Who Brought Mirth”
Sydney had been helping me get our Christmas decorations set out throughout the house. We'd put up the tree, and set up our Advent candle wreath; my huge nutcracker collection was set out, and random Santas appeared in corners everywhere.
The last things to be brought out were our nativity sets. One went on my fireplace mantel, and the other came to the dining room table.
As Sydney directed the placement of the figures on the table, she decided to give me a little lesson about the first Christmas. And, in so doing, gave me a pretty big lesson about Christmas today.
"I know who the Wise Men are," she said.
"You do?" I answered. "Tell me all about them."
She picked them up one by one and introduced me to the magi.
"This one is the one that brought gold. It's really pretty and valuable."
Yes, absolutely correct.
"This one is the one that brought frankincense. I think it's like a perfume."
Close, Sydney. And I'm just proud that you didn't call it frankenstein (which I was sorta expecting.)
"And this one is the last one. He's the one who brought mirth."
Almost immediately I thought about correcting her. We all know it's myrrh, after all. But I didn't.
I just gave her a hug and told her how I proud I was of how much she knew about the Wise Men and the story of Baby Jesus. And talked with her a few minutes about how we are like the Wise Men today; we give gifts to other people because they brought gifts to the baby, and that we need to give Jesus our own gifts (our love, and kindness, and helpfulness) today.
But I kept what she said...that "he's the one who brought mirth"...and pondered on it it a little bit. (I find that I often "keep things in my heart and ponder them" a lot during the Christmas season, much like we see Mary doing in the story that started it all.)
Mirth is defined in the dictionary as "gaiety or jollity, especially when accompanied by laughter."
How wonderful a concept it is to think that, as that Wise Man actually brought myrrh on that starry night so many years ago, he was also bringing a new era of mirth. He was welcoming something that should bring us all joy and happiness and gaiety and contentment and, yes, laughter.
The Christmas season can be overwhelming at times. We can find ourselves so wrapped up in everything that has to be done...the shopping, the money spending, the holiday events and responsibilities, the rush-rush of it all...that we don't experience what should really be the true emotional feeling of the season...the Mirth.
Mirth and joy and laughter come to me in many forms during this time of year.
They come to me as I pick out the gift that I just know will put a big smile on the face of a family member; or as I buy a gift for someone I've never even met, but know still that it will make their Christmas a little more joyful; or as I bite into a gingerbread cookie; or as I watch and listen to little children perform a Christmas play; or as I lie under the tree and shake my gifts with glee; or as I watch Charlie Brown's Christmas on tv; or as I dig out a few extra dollars and put them in that Salvation Army bucket; or as I light a candle that smells of cinnamon.
Mirth comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes during this time of year.
But, I...and we...must be open to its invitation. We must realize that it's here for us amidst the busyness. We must realize that it's really what makes the season worthwhile.
When we find it, we become a little more wise and we can then carry it to the world around us. And then we can carry it back to the baby Jesus (wrapped not in a box like that first Wise Men did, but wrapped in a smile, and a heart, and open arms) once again.(And below is my sweet Scout, who taught me that lesson...and teaches me so many more every single day. This is her, by the way, singing at our Christmas musical at church two weeks ago. She sang the solo, "What Child Is This," and did beautifully.)