One of the blessings our family is enjoying this year is the age of the grandchildren. They are two and three, so the elder remembers something of Christmas and is looking forward to it. The younger doesn't, but is thrilled by the elder's inspiration.
This is as it should be. We live in a world that has been largely stripped of its wonder. Everything is broken down into either "science" or a moral hierarchy based on Yard Sign Calvinism, which has no room for childish joy and delight.
There is no whimsy in "woke," nor can there be sentimentality or nostalgia, because the present must always sit in judgement on the past.
The Spirit of the Age demands that the past be rejected, and that children be forced into adult decisions such as birth control or sexual preference before they have any conception of what these things are.
But here at Chateau Lloyd, we can shut all of that out. Safe from social media and even the internet, the grandchildren can live as the generations before them lived - in a world they can touch, see, smell, taste and hear. The wood burning in the fireplace is something unknown to them, and they experience the same mysterious fascination that our ancestors know as they watch the flames wax and wane, and the logs slowly turn to ash.
The Christmas tree is a thing new and mesmerizing, full of light, color and - as they are told - memory. Is that really Mommy in that little picture? Do you mean Grandpa was a little boy once?
Part of the power of holidays is how we pass them on to the next generations, creating the same sense of awe that we knew when we were young. As we grow older, many of us are tempted to cut corners, and in some ways this is as it should be. Christmas is about the birth of our Redeemer, not getting presents at deep, deep, discounts.
But there need be no conflict in economizing and preserving the spectacle and sensation of Christmas. Lighting the Advent candles, preparing the Nativity - all of these create a sense of something special beyond the mere exchange of gifts. The older I get, the more I focus on these, rather than the presents, and my chief happiness is seen in the eyes of the children.