~ Richard Moss
True confession: I rather run hot/cold when it comes to Christmas "stuff." Not talking about the pure essence of the season, for that is one of the cornerstones of my Christian faith. I'm always fired up and passionate about that. My pre-Will years of writing and/or directing my church's Christmas programs have provided me with some wonderful experiences using my God-given talent and a lifetime's worth of stories.
No, I'm talking about all those other trappings. The ones that probably qualify as pop culture. Christmas specials and oft-cloying cutesy holiday themes and symbols-of-the-moment. I'm not really an Elf on the Shelf kinda girl, for example. And although I love it as a rule, some Christmas music leaves me meh. (Yep, Michael Bublé, I'ma lookin' at you. Don't get me started on The Biebs.)
But there's one piece of pop culture Christmas tchotchkes that is cherished by me more than any other. I know the dialogue by heart. My tree is full of representative ornaments. I have table tableaus and books and snow globes and and and...
A Charlie Brown Christmas.
My favorite then, now and always. The perfect blend of the sacred and the secular. Never mind that I *am* Lucy Van Pelt (just ask my family) and that I always tear up whenever Linus volunteers to tell Charlie Brown what Christmas is all about.
So when I saw Hallmark had put out a book "of" the story featured on the television special -- complete with sound buttons that correspond to the different parts of the tale, I knew I had to buy it for Will. He loves those books -- they're more about being able to push buttons and make noise for him than the actual story, though. However, I figured I'd give it a try. At the very least, I'd be amused.
So night before last, after a chaotic day that involved him having a small seizure on the PE field (sigh), I sat down on the comfortable green couch in our kitchen and picked up the book. Pushed a button or two to see if I could get his attention.
And I did.
He sat down next to me. I figured we'd sit there for a minute or two, start reading, push a couple of buttons, he'd close the book with a resolute "THE END" and we'd be on to our next thing. Mr. Short Attention Span present and accounted for.
Color me wrong.
I began to read the story. He scooted over to me, to sit close. Peering down to look at the pictures on the page. Then looking up at me and smiling so wide and pure it took my breath away. He helped turn the pages. Laughed at the silly sound affects -- Charlie Brown's "Good Grief!" was a particular favorite. And kept smiling. All the way through to the end, when I sang along with the "Hark the Herald Angels" button and he giggled.
It was a perfect moment. At least for me.
Will gave me an amazing gift in those 10 minutes -- the gift of his attention. We engaged together in something that has a huge place in my heart. And he enjoyed it.
Yesterday was extremely trying -- my sweet boy had another very serious scary seizure early this morning that necessitated an ambulance ride to All Children's and a several hour camp out in the ER that included many tests and a whole bunch of poking and prodding. My heart and soul ached for him, watching him sleep and struggle to regain baseline. But my spirit was buoyed through the stress and fear and exhaustion by many things -- the support and love of friends far and near through texts, social media and a phone call; the amazing care given by his hospital entourage; and the time we spent together with Charlie Brown, Lucy and the gang.
I may receive tangible gifts this holiday season. But none will mean more to me than the gift of attention and love my Will gave to me as we read a Christmas story together.
Sacred. Precious. Unforgettable.