Am I really writing about Christmas already when it's only mid-November? Yes, I am! I love the lights and smells and music that accompany Christmastime.
One of my favorite Christmastime memories is listening with anticipation as my dad narrated the Christmas pageant at our church year after year. His booming radio voice would herald the words found in Isaiah 1:2. "Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken through His prophet Isaiah."
From there he'd go on to proclaim Isaiah's prediction of the coming Messiah: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6)
This was followed by the words of the prophet Micah correctly prophesying the birthplace of the Messiah 700 years before it happened! "But thou, O Bethlehem, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall He come forth, the One who is to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from old, from everlasting." (Micah 5:2)
As much as I love to hear the Christmas story, it can tend to get lost as just one more thing in the shuffle of frenzied activity at this time of year. The world clamors for our attention while ads scream out to our senses with their shiny products. Buy me! Try me! You must have me!
As a child, I used to wake up so excited to see what Santa had brought on Christmas morning that I would throw up. Year after year after year... until the day my older sister ridiculed me and said she couldn't believe that I hadn't figured it out yet. What? I was crushed.
I had wanted to believe so badly in something so magical and wonderful. The childhood naivete has long worn off, especially after traveling to countries where the harsh reality is that Santa isn't coming. The suggestion I am about to make will mean adding one more thing to the start of a busy season, but perhaps in our quest for the perfect gift, we are forgetting something. The most perfect Christmas gift ever didn't come wrapped in fancy paper, and it wasn't on sale the day after Thanksgiving.
How about stepping back for a bit and spending some time with a loved one as you enjoy seeing Christmas through the eyes of children who are hearing the story of Jesus' birth for the very first time? This happens in the wonderful and hilarious play called "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever." Perhaps you've attended it before at some point, but you've never experienced it quite like this!
Christian Youth Theater will be performing it at Third Street Theater in downtown Phoenix the weekend of Nov. 18-20 and touring at various churches in Scottsdale the weekend of Dec. 2-4. As the mother of a cast member, I promise you will be delighted.
To order tickets and get more information, go to Christian Youth Theater's website, www.cytphoenix.org. Click on the logo for the show and then scroll down. This might be just what you need to revive a childlike wonder!
• Lisa Jisa and her family have been residents of Ahwatukee Foothills since 2000. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.