The Return of Excited Anticipation

ChristyWithSanta1957:8 copyIt’s Christmas morning. My older sister Marianne stands at the foot of my bed and whispers with great excitement, “Christy, it’s Christmas morning!”I reluctantly open one eye and stir a bit. The impact of her message fails to reach me. She moves closer. “C’mon, Christy. Get up! It’s Christmas morning!” Her words finally sink into my brain. Now both eyes are open and my feet hit the ground.

In the earlier days of my childhood, my parents made a brilliant move. They put up the Christmas tree in our basement. In our two-story home, having to travel two sets of stairs to reach our presents increased the anticipation.

Marianne runs ahead of me down the first set of stairs. We are excited to reach the living room floor. The anticipation builds. We dash through the living room, dining room and kitchen. We reach for the light switch to the basement. Now we have another set of stairs to descend and turn left to reach the tree. Before us stands the small tree, adorned with blown glass ornaments in all colors. Gracing the tree top is a molded plastic angel. Our eyes immediately go to the gifts under the tree. We crouch down and begin to find our gifts. We’re very talented at shaking them and guessing what’s inside. A doll? A game? A new outfit? To the left of the tree is an artificial fireplace constructed of red and white “brick” corrugated cardboard and a hearth that my Dad will plug in so the embers glow. I think it’s the coolest thing.

My parents have one rule for Christmas morning: We are not permitted to open our gifts until they come downstairs. My other two older sisters will come with them then. That’s when our neatly decorated basement turns into a chaotic scene, with gift wrap everywhere. We each receive a few gifts. At least one of them is something from my Christmas list. All is right with the world.

What would it take to have that same excited anticipation that we had as children? That sense of wonder and contentment? It is within our reach every day. Go out and seek it!