Christmas was, for me as a child, a truly magical time. The lights, sounds and smells of the holiday filled my days with sheer joy. I remember feeling transported into a world where, lying on the floor in front of the Christmas tree, I was as much a part of the nativity scene as the tiny porcelain figures arranged there.
The beauty of Christmas certainly includes the gift of hope that is embodied in the Christ child. Hundreds of years later, the ingenuity of the modern world has transformed this spirit of hope and promise into the tradition of gift giving.
One Christmas I hoped for a chemistry set. We had a microscope and a few glass slides which I found fascinating but, the set was incomplete, pieces long lost or broken. I gazed longingly at catalog pictures of various science kits and submitted my wish to Santa with high hopes.
Thinking carefully about my behavior over the past year, I felt some concern that my name may have a few too many checkmarks inside the “naughty” column. I kept close watch over my demeanor in the days leading up to Christmas morning.
In the dark and chilly stillness of the living room, I could see that Santa’s plate of cookies was empty and his glass of milk drained. I crept slowly towards the tree. It’s fresh scent filled the air and as the lights were plugged in a veritable rainbow of colorful gifts was revealed. My heart pounding, I began the search. A new pair of boots! A sweater! A talking doll! A tea set! But, no microscope. No glass specimen slides. No chemistry set.
Years later with Christmas plans for my own children, I found a microscope and purchased it – for them of course…