What's Going On Here? Every December Smiling & Crying At The Very Same Time?

For heaven’s sake, what’s going on here every December…? One minute we’re smiling with the joy of the season, next we’re crying as memories of lost Christmases sneak in. It’s that blazing time of year in which children burst with anticipation while grandparents hide that occasional tear.

The explanation is as simple as it is profound: Grandparents know too much.

Watch the kids watch the days get closer. Whatever the angst at their age — and growing up does have angst — most anywhere west of the Sudan offers them more fun than fear during Christmas. It is after all the most celebrated time of their year. What’s not to like, to love, to anticipate? Nor should anyone, especially grandparents, cloud their days with too many “when I was your age” stories. This is their Christmas, not yours.

Still….it’s your Christmases from whence come those tears. The sticky webbing of remembrances of Christmases past often cloak and clog your days. To say grandparents know too much is to say they recall too much that begs to be shared, but whose joys are not really sharable with the young, and whose disappointments are best kept from the young.

Have you ever noticed grandparents, aunts and uncles during Christmastime? Not so much participants as observers. Just a little outside the action. Why? Because the season’s action belongs to the kids. Just as grandparents, aunts and uncles remain relatively quiet at weddings, so do they at Christmases. These are times which bring up vast emotional lavas from times long age, but whose flow needs to run no further than the tongue. The young aren’t interested. Nor should they be.

There will be time enough and Christmases enough for them to learn what you have learned. As Ecclesiastes reminds us: There is a season for everything…

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