On the Fifth Day of Christmas

cristy3On the fifth day of Christmas, my mom asked my dad how to work the camcorder.

I think you'll agree with me that a certain feeling is held in every breath we breathe on Christmas morning. It's the Christmas spirit, the yuletide excitement, the glorious merriment of celebrating our King's birth. I can close my eyes and imagine exactly what it will feel like to wake up on Christmas morning, back home in Texas with the rest of the Whitlock clan.

In an attempt to capture this yearly cheerfulness, my parents have filmed every Christmas morning since the birth of my older brother. All of us kids sleep upstairs, and on the morning of the 25th, we gather atop the staircase. My parents have the filming device at the bottom of the stairs, waiting for us to start singing Christmas carols. None of us claim to be musically inclined, so every Christmas video displays a mixture of pitchiness, forgotten words, and silence on the high notes because none of us will attempt any range. My brother will push one of us down the stairs. My older sister will whine about it. My twin sister will put on make-up before going on camera. And it never fails that my mom will forget how to use the camera. Almost every home video we own starts with my mom asking my dad, "Danny, what's this red light mean?" (When will she learn that it means it's recording??) These are traditions that I never want to change.

It's inevitable, however, that there will be some modifications over the years. We've already had two people marry into our craziness, so aligning schedules can be extremely difficult. As my siblings start splitting Christmas mornings with the Whitlocks and their in-laws, and as work schedules disallow vacation on the 25th, we will alter our traditions.

But there's one thing we will never alter. We will always have a magical feeling overtake our hearts at Christmastime because as amazing as family videos and togetherness tend to be, they are nothing in comparison to the Gospel. This year, we will again be reminded of the death Christ saved us from - the day perfection joined our sinful depravity, lived in flesh for three decades, and rescued our souls through death on a cross. THIS is cause for celebration. THIS will never change. THIS is Christmas.

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