Christmas Crazies

I guess the fact that Christmas is coming is not exactly "news." Decorations appeared in the supermarket round about September, and now we're in the thick of pre-Christmas activity - family picnics, barbecues with friends, end-of-year celebrations for school and kinder and Irish dancing class, organising cards and presents and trees and food. It's all a bit frantic, and sometimes it doesn't feel like much fun.

But this year, my elder daughter is old enough to take a real interest in giving for the first time, and seeing the care and thought she's putting into presents for her sister and her grandparents, as well as for me and her dad, has made me appreciate the beauty of Christmas all over again.

Whatever you believe about Baby Jesus, surely that is the true magic at the heart of this crazy festival - that even just for a few moments, we think about what might make other people happy.

This is my favourite moment from On The Banks of Plum Creek, when Ma asks Mary and Laura to wish for horses, and only horses, for Christmas:

Ma told them something about Santa Claus. He was everywhere, and he was all the time.
Whenever anyone was unselfish, that was Santa Claus.
Christmas Eve was the time when everyone was unselfish. On that one night, Santa Claus was everywhere, because everybody, all together, stopped being selfish and wanted other people to be happy. And in the morning you saw what that had done.
"If everybody wanted everybody else to be happy, all the time, then would it be Christmas all the time?" Laura asked, and Ma said, "Yes, Laura."

Merry Christmas.