It is funny how words and stories come into our life. What is even more interesting to me is what makes them stick in our minds and become part of our memories.
I recently attended a Christmas concert at a nearby church and one of the readings included the following excerpt from Robert Fulghum’s book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.
“I do know what I want someone to give me for Christmas. I’ve known since I was forty years old. Wind-up mechanical toys that make noises and go round and round and do funny things. No batteries. Toys that need me to help them out from time to time. The old fashioned painted tin ones I had when I was a child. That’s what I want. Nobody believes me. It’s what I want I tell you.
Well, okay, that’s close, but not quite exactly it. Its delight and simplicity that I want. Foolishness and fantasy and noise. Angels and miracles and wonder and innocence and magic. That’s closer to what I really want.
Its harder talk about, but what I really, really, really want for Christmas is just this:
I want to be 5 years old again for an hour. I want to laugh a lot and cry a lot. I want to be picked or rocked to sleep in someone’s arms, and carried up to bed just one more time. I know what I really want for Christmas: I want my childhood back.
Nobody is going to give me that. I might give at least the memory of it to myself if I try. I know it doesn’t make sense, but when is Christmas about sense, anyway? Its about a child, of long ago and far away, and it is about the child of now. In you and me. Waiting behind the door of our hearts for something wonderful to happen. A child who is impractical, unrealistic, simpleminded, and terribly vulnerable to joy. A child who does not need or want or understand the gifts of socks or pot holders.”
― Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
The passage was shared by the mayor of the town in which the church was situated. He was a youngish looking man in his early 60’s. Mid-reading, his voice cracked. He tried to continue, but as he stumbled verbally toward the sentence “I want to be picked up or rocked to sleep in someone’s arms, and be carried up to bed just one more time,” tears formed and rolled down his cheeks. He paused, looked out at the crowd of hundreds, and in this ultra-vulnerable moment, realized the crowd was with him. He smiled slightly, shrugged his shoulders and continued. I think he realized this was a safe environment for flowing tears, memories and moments of tenderness.
I’m sure many in the audience teared-up, as well. I did – for him, for myself, for all of us, and for dreams unrealized and yet to come. In that moment, I believe that most of us became children again, and yearned, or at least understood the yearning for the magic of Christmas.
Fulghum’s words, the mayor’s tears and vulnerability and the feelings they elicited, have stuck with me and are now part of my stories and memories. I share them with you now, as a reminder that Christmas is a time of magic. Magic we can create for the children inside ourselves and for the children around us – young and old.
Reach inside and outside of yourself this holiday season to touch the hearts of those around you. You will fill yourself with joy and you may create lifelong memories for others. And, after all, isn’t that the true magic of Christmas?
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Thanks for sharing!