The theme of this year’s Advent devotion is: Do you see what I see? An array of St. Paul voices selected a photo or photos that hold very special memories to them, then sat down and reflected on what that photo means to them. What do they see and remember that others may not when looking at this photo? Through their words and stories, hopefully, you’ll see a little of what they see.
I remember posing for this photo, a proud eight-year-old version of me sporting a new tie that matched my brother’s and my dad’s. What you can’t see, however, is that the ties are clip-ons. As a kid, I enjoyed dressing like a grown-up and was always eager to match my dad. That image of the clip-on ties makes me chuckle because while I wished to be so grown up, I was so young.
For me, Christmas as a child revolved around wishes. Wishes for presents, food, family, and like this photo shows, to be a grown-up. I’m not sure if I fully understood my desire to be grown then, but as I reflect, I can see that the wish to be grown was born out of love and respect for my dad. I wanted to be like him. And when I look at my brother in this photo, I see a boy who wants to be just like his older brother.
Although with each Christmas, new photos capture new things, whether it’s new gifts, hairstyles, or growth, some things stay the same. I still dress like my dad, and my brother still asks me what I’m wearing for Christmas dinner so he can coordinate accordingly. We no longer wear matching clip-on ties- we’re fully-fledged adults who tie their own ties. Yet, part of me would like nothing more than to bring back those clip-on ties for Christmas again, to be a kid again, just for a day.
We all have an inner child that becomes more easily accessible at a time like Christmas. While our wishes change and our responsibilities shift, the magic of Christmas morning, spending time with family, and sharing gifts remains if we can find ways to remember our inner child. I think it’s not only okay to do that, but it’s life-giving. Every one of us is one year older each Christmas. Things constantly change in that one year, but what I wish for this Christmas is to experience Christmas as a kid again, to reclaim my clip-on tie and cherish what still hasn’t changed, and to be mindful of the many blessings God has added to my life since those early childhood days.
Max Franks and his wife, Liz, enjoy meeting new people and getting out into the community, especially where good food and coffee are abundant. They find joy in their ever-growing puppy, Charlie, as well as cooking, hosting, spontaneous conversation, and Iowa Hawkeye sports in their free time.