most sensational, inspirational, celebrational

I still remember the first time I saw Kermit riding a bike. It was magic, plain and simple. My parents wisely did not try to explain away my amazement. They let me sit there on the floor in wide-eyed wonder.

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We saw the new Muppet movie over the weekend, and, yes, I cried. Afterwards, I noticed that I was moved not by the story itself but by the scenes that made me remember what it felt like to watch the Muppets as a child. Seeing Kermit play his banjo and watching the whole gang sing the intro to The Muppet Show turned me into the four-year-old who recorded Muppet News on her Fisher Price tape player with her cousin. The five-year-old who sat on the floor watching The Muppet Movie on TV. The girl who still watches The Muppet Christmas Carol every year (what, like you don’t?).

So much of Christmas is about wonder. The lights turned low, so the Christmas tree and the candles shine. The music that we pull out only after Thanksgiving. A story about a little baby, God incarnate, born in a dirty stable. I like concrete answers. I like to know why things happen and the history behind it all. But this time of year, I long for stories that build on that sense of wonder. I reach for my friends Frodo and Charlie. I reject straightforward non-fiction in favor of a more fantastic approach.

When we talk about what kind of Christmas memories we want to make for Atticus, wonder is at the top of our list. The decorations in the neighborhood, the luminaries in the park, the presents we share. And the story of Jesus, God’s love made flesh. So even though Kermit and Fozzie and Miss Piggy have nothing to do with Christmas (and even though the movie was just okay), I think that spending an evening with them was a good way to prepare my heart during Advent. Their “affectionate anarchy” via music and laughter is not as removed as one might think from a story about a God who became man and turned the world upside down.

For the record, I still don’t know how Kermit rides that bicycle, but I’m pretty sure it’s magic. When Atticus asks me one day, I will say, I wonder how it works, too.

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