Christmas holds a special place in my heart. I am blessed to have experienced more than 80 wonderful Christmas festivals, family dinners and packages under the trees.
My mother and, later, my wife worked hard to decorate the tree and our home. It was precision at it’s best, over in a few minutes, or so it seemed. I wish I could say the same for the clean up. Taking down and storing the decorations was almost as time-consuming and tiring as the decorating. At the end of this exhausting experience, I often heard my mother and wife say, “Christmas is really for children.” Now, rather than anticipating and receiving our presents, we are enjoying Christmas through the activities and eyes of our grandchildren.
This year, our ballet-skipping 7-year old granddaughter performed “The Nutcracker” with the American Ballet Company, bouncing across the stage in her mouse costume, energetically holding onto the long tail of the mouse in front of her.
Our 5-year old, quick-minded grandson is in kindergarten and is extremely active. When his mother asked his teacher how the day went at school, the teacher responded that he was full of Christmas all year long, as she endeavors to keep up with his many activities and energy. Recently, a friend criticized him and our grandson spoke up and said, “Would Jesus say that to me, if he heard what you said?” Precocious.
Christmas is all about traditions. We really enjoyed our church Christmas party. The food was great and it was wonderful to be with our family and good friends. The highlight was hearing the under 7-year-old chorus sing Christmas carols, filling the room like angels on high. The nativity scene was performed by 8-11 year olds. The shepherds all wore their colored bathrobes. Joseph and Mary sat on a large hay bale - with a shy 10-year-old acting as Joseph, sitting as far away as he could from 9-year-old Mary.
The season hit a high note when I received an e-mail from a friend who volunteers at the Children’s Inn at the National Institutes of Health - NIH. She teaches Sunday school for 4-year olds. As she was telling the story of Mary and Joseph riding on their donkey to Bethlehem with no place to stay, a little girl raised her hand and said, "Ms. Susie, instead of sleeping in a stable, why didn’t they stay at the Marriott?”
After The Nutcracker performance, the ballet-skipping girl ran up to me and gave my legs a hug. The quick-minded boy challenged my knowledge of the Bible. “…Did you know this, Grandpa?” I am truly blessed.
Look around this Christmas season and watch it through the eyes of children. It will open up your eyes and get you in the spirit.
Happy Holidays to you all!
I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.