My Explanation To A Child About Christmas

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As young parents more than 20 years ago, my wife Debbie and I were given the challenge of a first-born son with an unquenchable appetite for knowledge -- one who had to have a logical explanation for everything.

I'm sure many of you know what I'm talking about.

One day he sincerely asked me about the meaning of Christmas and I wrote a reply in verse.

I do not consider myself a poet, and I hesitated sharing something so personal, but as I pondered the events of this week I could not find a better expression for the season. This was written to my son, Brian, when he was 4:

What Makes Christmas Christmas?

Walking in the snow, his hand in mine

Hearing all the questions that fill his mind

Asking in a voice so soft and kind

Daddy, what makes Christmas Christmas?

Is it candy canes and holly and mistletoe

Decorated windows with lights aglow

Can you tell me, Daddy, I need to know

What makes Christmas Christmas?

Is it all the Christmas bells a'ringing

Is it all the presents grandpa's bringing

Is it all the carolers joyfully singing

What makes Christmas Christmas?

It is tiny little elves and a reindeer sleigh

Finding presents under the tree on Christmas Day

But it seems there's something else and it makes me say

Daddy, what makes Christmas Christmas?

So we stopped beneath a tree

And I got down on my knee

And I said, son ...

It's Bethlehem in quiet starry light

A precious little child is born that night

It's angels who proclaim in shepherds' sight

That's what makes Christmas Christmas

Traveling from afar, the wise men came

They came to seek the Lord and praise his name

To gain eternal life, we must do the same

Son, that's what makes Christmas Christmas

So when Christmas decorations lose their shine

And Christmas trees are put away

I hope you'll remember what makes Christmas Christmas

Each and every day

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