The secret to Christmas magic often lies in what you don’t know.
Cases in point: The Scouts of Troop 303, caroling mightily for the last-minute shoppers in Salvation Point.
They fill the air with God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and Silent Night and Oh Little Town of Bethlehem, and every few songs there’s a commercial break: “If you haven’t bought a wreath yet, there’s still a ton of them in my dad’s truck.”
Salvation Point is a small town and the Fighting Three-oh-Third has mustered just three wise guys tonight. One’s in second grade, one’s in seventh, and the tall one is a senior in high school.
Three case studies in the magic of what you don’t know.
Christmas magic is easy for the second grader. Santa Claus is still totally real and is totally going to bring a PlayStation 4. What he doesn’t know is Dad bought the thing weeks ago and has been sneaking it out late at night. When they face off on Christmas morning, the old man will for once have the upper hand in electronic gaming.
For the seventh grader, it’s Christmas magic that makes his otherwise too-cool older cousin don a Santa hat and play the part of jolly elf, loading Christmas trees onto SUVs and tying them down with a smile and warm holiday wishes. What he doesn’t know is the tips are good, and cousin’s desperately fighting his way out from under a $28,000 Visa balance.
The senior’s got a small box of Christmas magic in his dresser drawer – a pretty expensive necklace and earrings for Samantha. He figures she’ll cry when she opens them and she’ll know he’s serious even though they’re both leaving for college next fall. They’ve been going out since homecoming, but what he doesn’t know is she’s got plans for New Year’s Eve and they don’t include him.
Three fragile Christmases made magic by what they don’t know.
The trouble is, once they do know, the magic is gone.
This has been a year of error and loss in my house. My holiday spirit is less Gene Autry (Here Comes Santa Claus) and more Merle Haggard (If We Make It Through December). What I don’t know is deep and wide, but that’s not making for much magic.
So I’m sticking with what I do know:
“For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”
It’s not the kind of magic that necessarily makes for twinkling memories ’round the tree. To some it’s no more real than Santa Claus. But to the Christian it is a hope that brings peace in every circumstance. The knowledge of Christmas – the light and life of the risen Savior – is cause to celebrate even when we don’t feel like it.
Christmas is Merry, whether we know it or not.
May your Christmas be joyous, and your New Year bright.