Sharing time with my family is probably key to having a gracious, lovely holiday for me. Time breathing the same air and enjoying the food together with the people I love the most is the best. I wish that we could spend all year or more parts of the year together in this way, but at least at Christmas we gather round. As my mom (95) reaches into extreme old age I treasure these times together because they are surely limited.
Candles and carols at Mass make the holiday for me. There are candles in my church all year round, but they seem to shine brighter with the holiday. Perhaps it is the shortness of the days or the length of the nights that makes the candles sparkle more. The old songs telling the eternal mysteries sound as if the angels were joining in at Christmas.
Then a tree that sparkles with ornaments gathered through the years and the creche with the holy family, the wise men and the shepherds make my house a Christmas place. I think I must have a tree and a manger scene in my house to feel Christmas.
The sparkles in a child's eyes, seeing, noticing things for the first time makes Christmas special, joyous, precious for me. I look forward to grandchildren with noisy toys and shouts of joy at Christmas.
So, ask yourself, what makes Christmas joyous for you?