At Christmas, do you ever wonder how the old toys feel about their replacements? The playroom buzzes on Christmas Eve in Jim Henson’s film, The Christmas Toy (a.k.a. Toy Story of the 80’s). All the characters are excited about the promise of new additions to their toy tribe, all except Rugby, last year’s star gift.
Rugby is Jaime’s favorite and he simply can’t imagine being replaced. So he plots the unthinkable: sneak out of the playroom, journey down the hall, retake the gift-box throne. But, there is a catch. Any toy becomes “frozen” if a human finds it out of its original spot. Essentially, Rugby’s plan will literally box him into a frozen life.
Rugby doesn’t consider the peril of his quest, though the hallway and house stairs are riddled with instant freeze threats. Consumed with determination, he can’t see past the present (I gift you that one). He can’t see past his fear, fear of change.
After watching The Christmas Toy, I felt a little like Rugby. I’m guilty of sneaking down the halls of memories, freezing myself into place in a confining box of “what shoulds.” I struggle with how my family has shifted forms. Often this “grown-up life” seems less magical, especially during the holiday season.
A few years ago, I cried real adult tears when I didn’t have a physical Christmas stocking. On the grander scale, I recognized the day’s importance. Of course I appreciated my family , even in its new form, and, yes, I celebrated Jesus’ birthday. But in that moment, the lack of a Christmas stocking represented loss: how far away that moment felt from the magical childhood Christmases.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m really good at embracing the joy of hot cocoa, nativity scenes, and Christmas carols. However, at times I feel like Rugby, waiting frozen in that box. When that happens, I wonder what I’ve missed. I don’t want to ponder too long, however, and miss out on the gift of the present moment.
In fact, this year, I’d like to catch myself each time I emulate Rugby as he creaks open the playroom’s door. Instead of a solitary sneak-off to time-freeze, I aim to enjoy all the characters right here before me. Like the movie’s lively bunch, I want to notice all the people I encounter people on the street, at church, and in my family, each of them packed with goodness and quirky imperfections.
What moments freeze you into the past? How will you celebrate this year without being suspended in a frozen past?
Your Brave Tutu (You’re brave, too-too!)