Christmas is a time of festive celebrations. It’s a to reminisce about days gone by, a great excuse to eat too much, sing too loudly, and spend more money than we should. Christmas can stir up intense and complex feelings (both pleasurable and painful) that sometimes take us by surprise. And for Christians, Christmas is a time of awe, reverence and wonder, when the timeless story of Christ’s birth is once again read from the Gospels for all the world to hear.
Some of the most cherished Christmas joys are found in family traditions that link one year to another with the harmony of favorite carols, the sparkle of familiar ornaments, and, of course, gift giving. Year after year, decade after decade, we delight in the reappearance of well-worn downtown Christmas lights and garlands. We are thrilled when the church sets up its nativity scene, angels, shepherds, wise men, and all no matter where we are.
But the very familiarity of Christmas sometimes causes us to overlook the most vital expressions of what should be a meaningful season. We have listened to the words of the great Christmas hymns so many times since childhood that we sometimes fail to appreciate their eloquent meaning. We have heard a hundred times about Mary and Joseph’s long, weary trek from Nazareth to Bethlehem, but we haven’t always stopped to remember just exactly how and why it happened. We’ve almost memorized the Bible story, we’ve sung the carols, we’ve hung the holly, and we’ve roasted the turkey. When it comes to Christmas, we’ve done it all…. including missing it by being too busy with the festivities.
Somewhere along the way, many have lost touch with what happened on that holy night, the heart of Christmas itself. With that in mind I hope the following weeks posts remind you of the beautiful, inspirational and profoundly spiritual good news of Christmas that are sometimes eclipsed by the gleam and glitter of today’s celebration.
Merry Christmas everyone!