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Op-ed

The magic of Christmas only deepens with age, if you look in the right place

"It is more blessed to give than to receive..."

Gerald Martineau/The The Washington Post via Getty Images

There is a real magic to Christmas. We all see it in the eyes of a child who gets exactly what they wanted under the Christmas tree and shrieks with joy on the holiday's morning when they rip open their present with their grubby little fingers.

I can remember one of those times when I was a young child that my parents were able to get for me that gift that I wanted so badly. I was about eight years old and was captivated by remote control toy cars. Our family was struggling financially, we were poor, but my mother was able to obtain one with the help of a local family charity.

It was just a car with a remote control, and it wasn't even radio-controlled, it had a long clumsy wire that tethered the remote to the toy! Quaint, by today's standards.

But I loved it. When I tore into that package open and saw that car I lit up with excitement.

It was magical.

As with most important lessons in life, it takes a long time to discover the real meaning of the magic of Christmas. Sure, your parents can tell you what the real reason of the season is, there's plenty of church lessons about it, there's even television specials. As a child you just want your presents.

And yet these are all symbols. As your understanding of human existence deepens, you see that all of these things that we grasp and enjoy pass away to nothingness, it's all dust. What remains is the magic. It's the love.

It wasn't the plastic toy that was most important. It broke long ago with overuse and has been discarded. But the love by which it was given, and the reason that we celebrated the holiday, that remains.

And that is the most important of all.

Years later, I was looking into a local Christian charity to which I had been making donations. It turned out that they were associated with the very same group that had helped my family when I was a child. It made me choke up with gratefulness that I had been blessed by God so much that I was able to give back to the very same group that had helped my family as a child.

It was magical.

In the end, it's not the stuff that matters. It's what those gifts represent. The love of a parent for their child. The love of a stranger for a struggling family. Finally, the infinite love of God for each of us.

The passing transient joy is just a hazy reflection, a symbol, of a deeper and divine love.

Have a blessed Christmas.

One last thing…
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