Three red stockings sway in front of a simmering fire. Emerald green garland drapes across this scene and glass angels with flickering flames all their own, secure it.
Our tree is up and starting to shed its needles. The mark of a worn and loved season in our cozy home.
Today is Christmas and I both know and love how this day will begin.
With a present or two that I will happily tear into with childhood delight (no matter my age).
But more importantly this morning, and every Christmas morning past, we will watch one of my favorite movies.
The quality is horrible, with tears in the VHS film and fuzzy snow popping up at untimely moments. Only recently the sepia tones have been dyed to color and the dialogue and humor is as archaic as the VHS it self.
It is the 1934 version of Babes In Toyland.
No, it’s not technically a Christmas movie.
Well, Santa Clause is in it and his wooden toy soldiers do save Little Bo peep from the boogie men…but not quite a “Christmas” favorite for most people.
For me the title alone stirs up carefree joy filled memories of my three person family being together. Drinking coffee together with Laurel and Hardy slapstick humor in the background. My dads bold laughter as Stan and Ollie get into some sort of trouble and end up hitting one another in a cheesy, but jovial, way.
Remembering this, watching this movie now, shines a radiant light on the always cold December 25ths spent together. I remember all the Christmas’s past, present and to come and know part of my holiday will include gathering around a screen and watching this old classic (well classic to us) movie.
Quoting lines together.
Reenacting scenes together.
Lazily reclining in the warm comfort of the fire with each other.
Surrounded by all the Christmas decorations and smells, eating truck loads of savory and sweet delights.
This word carries one of the most precious aspects of Christmas.
That Christ came to be with us.
That this day, decades ago, Christ was born.
Cheek to cheek with His new mother.
Shoulder to shoulder with His earthly dad.
Emmanual, “God with us”, His very name.
He came to be with us. To ultimately make a way that we could be with Him.
Together with an intimacy David dreamed and Isaiah prophesied.
This moment. His birthday cementing the togetherness of the Highest Holy in the presence of His beloved creation.
Side by side and face to face.
This is what we celebrate. This is the crazy beautiful beginning of the good news and the truth that often gets lost amidst the decorations, shopping trips, and parties.
Christ’s birthday was the first time ordinary people got to be in the presence of the Holy without ceremony or sacrifice. A barn instead of a tabernacle and a manger for a mercy seat.
It was unprecedented and unheard of.
Christ among us.
Christ with us.
Someone we could touch, feel, interact with without fear.
The most precious in all history. Marking a shift that will rip open Heavens and heal the deepest Hells.
Christ with us.