No Morning Like It



Christmas morning! There’s no morning like it. Excitement abounds. Unlike most mornings, little children bounce eagerly out of bed, and often before sunrise!

Mom and Dad are usually not bright-eyed like the kids. Many times, my wife and I stayed up past midnight, playing Santa, only to have our young boys wake us before 6 a.m. They could not wait to show us what Santa had left them under the tree! Bleary-eyed, we begged for mercy. But the kids were merciless. Sleep another hour? Heavens no! Christmas day had begun! 

The time had come to stagger out of bed, put on some coffee and hope for a nap in the afternoon. Cruel it would be to force eager children to wait any longer. There were exciting discoveries to be made as our family gathered around the tree to share the awe and wonder of another Christmas morning. 

What precious memories I have of those mornings when our boys were growing up. I can still recall the amazed look in their eyes as they examined each gift. All the while Mom and I were praying they would be pleased with the inexpensive things we were able to buy them. 

Rarely were we able to give them some of the expensive things they wished for — like a “Go Cart” with a gasoline engine. Whenever I saw a child with a nice Go Cart, I remembered how my boys wanted one. They were disappointed, but so was I. It was difficult to explain to them why our budget would not stretch that far.

I remember wanting things when I was a boy that my parents could not afford. And I recall my joy when one Christmas my folks were able to give me my first bicycle. Before that the gift that had thrilled me the most was my Daisy Red Ryder BB-Gun. It had been cleverly hidden inside the Christmas tree so that I did not notice it until all the other gifts had been opened.  

The wonder of it all is that most children are somehow able to accept happily what they do receive. I never remember a child sulking on Christmas day because a particular gift was not under the tree. Nor did I. 

One of our traditions was to hang stockings over the fireplace. The stockings had our names inscribed on them. It was fun to dump out the small items in the stocking, things like gum, candy, apples, oranges, nuts, socks, knives, nail clippers and sometimes a dollar or two. 

When we were small, my mother always left some fruit cake and milk for Santa. And Santa must have eaten it; the plate was always empty on Christmas morning. I never questioned how jolly old Saint Nick got down our chimney. Mysteries did not concern me back then.

Christmas morning is different now. Just my little dog Buddy and me. I have given up trying to teach him to talk. Decided instead to take up barking. So when I bark at him, he barks back. I guess it’s dog talk, but I enjoy it. Dean is in heaven now. It comforts me to believe she is cheering me on to do my best until I join her. A few tears? Sure, but that’s just part of being a normal human being. Tears remind me that my Jesus is the Water of Life.

No little children get me up early anymore. And some of our children have grandchildren, so the traditions begun in our home are but memories for them also. But I have not lost the memories of those joyous moments when we found surprises under the tree. I still put up a tree, and kind Karen decorated it for me. Dear old aging Santa will still find his way to my house to leave a gift or two. And my eyes will sparkle as I recall the days when Dean was with me — because there is simply nothing like Christmas morning. What makes it special, of course, is the joy of sharing it with people you love. Belonging to a family that forgives you and supports you — that’s what makes Christmas morning awesome. 

When you wake up Christmas morning, rejoice that you are alive to greet another dawn. And remember: The best part of waking up on Christmas morning is not the coffee in your cup, but the love that’s in your heart! Thank God that you have lived to enjoy another morning like no other! If you live alone, don’t you dare feel sorry for yourself. Call somebody and bless them with those cheerful words: Merry Christmas!


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