Growing up in North Carolina, we never once got a white Christmas. I suppose it wasn’t an impossibility, it just wasn’t likely. My sister and I never gave up hope and spent many Christmas Eves watching the starry skiesfor signs of snowflakes.Now our family lives in northern Utah and one of the greatest joys of living in this mountain town is the assurance of a white Christmas! Like the Christmas Bird, I’m fond of snow dolloped branches and quiet solitude.
The story of The Christmas Bird popped into my head many years ago. It was a gift I believe God whispered to me and I wanted to tell it to others. I typed it up and read it to my kids and family. One of my little girls made a cover page, scribbled in magic marker, which I have kept all these years as an encouragement. Now my four kids are older and only one is still in the nest. In Christmases past, I’d think of The Christmas Bird and how he was still tucked away in my files. Last January, I began the long process of self-publishing so I could release him into the wild! The Christmas Bird has a message to share with young and old, believers and skeptics.
I didn’t become a Christian until I was 20. Up to that point Christmas to me was a mixture of Santa and Jesus, reindeer and angels, anticipation and disappointment. Songs such as “Santa Claus is Coming To Town” were on par with “O Holy Night”. One thing’s for sure, it’s impossible to stay emotionally neutral during this holiday! Like the Grinch, everyone wonders if perhaps Christmas is, “a little bit more”? Christmas is a time like no other that brings family and friends together, stops commercialism for 24 hours, and sparks hope even in hopeless situations. What a gift that the God of the Universe would share His birthday with us! My first Christmas as a Believer was one of childlike faith and wonder as I sang the Christmas hymns and realized these are TRUE! There is a world of difference between the Gospel and Santa Claus!
Several years later when I had kids, my husband and I tried to keep the focus of Christmas (and Easter) on Jesus. Santa, however, is impossible to escape. What parent doesn’t love seeing their toddler sit on Santa’s knee at the local mall’s makeshift North Pole? The expectation, hope, and joy on most children’s faces are priceless. I say “most” because there are always one or two kids that are terrified…. I may have mothered one of those kids, but that’s the exception, not the rule!
The Christmas Bird is obviously a work of fiction. However, within its pages are several important truths: the love of family transcends hardship; God’s promises are the foundation for hope; we all desperately need a Savior; Santa’s gifts are temporal; and the MOST important truth – God is the Giver of every good and perfect gift! His life-giving and life-transforming gifts are the best! Like freshly fallen snow, His love covers a multitude of sin and brokenness, transforms the landscape of our lives, and assures us that He makes all things new!
My favorite part of The Christmas Bird is when Santa realizes Little Maggie has asked him for a gift that only God can give. The bird witnesses Santa kneel and pray beside the sleeping little girl. It is at this point that the bird understands and embraces the true meaning of Christmas. My hope is that others will as well! Merry Christmas to all! Liza