It reminds me of something I had written before, something along these lines: “Christmas is a-coming and the goose is getting fat, please to put a penny in the old man’s hat. If you haven’t got a penny then a hape/ny will do—and if you haven’t got a hape’ny, then God Bless you.” Of course I did not write that part, it is from an old English nursery rhyme, but I did feel that there is nothing like the Christmas tradition to plunge older folks into second childhoods. Even as we are reminded, from our consciences and church meetings that the real meaning of Christmas is something else, something far more important than tinsel and colored lights,, there remains that flutter and tingle at the sight of bright packages and holiday food.
Counting out the days to the Eve of Christmas still arouses a half-forgotten anticipation—meaning that sometimes you wiggle and smile in spite of yourself. There’s all the delightful secrets that make you laugh out loud when you think of them, or itch with curiosity. The parties and the visits with friends and relatives only add to the growing crescendo, each one drawing the Holy Night nearer and nearer.
The point is, I think that here, quite unlike anywhere else, one can anticipate joy, and as the fine writer Henri Nouwen said, “Joy is always new. There is a lot of old sadness, but there is never old joy. Joy is always a surprise, and that’s ecstasy.” (from Radix Vol.15:6).