One of the things about being a morning person and having no small children is that you wake up Christmas morning wondering what to do with yourself until everyone gets up. So here I sit blogging. 🙂
I think perhaps the best memory of this particular Christmas season happened a few weeks ago, when my family and I went to see a theatrical rendition of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. That is one of my all-time favorite Christmas stories, filled with meaning. I love the idea of keeping Christmas in your heart all the year. It was a well-done performance, cheesy at times, but our hearts welled up with the spirit of Christmas at the end.
It was a good reminder for me, because Christmas these days doesn’t look or feel like it used to. The only times we ever had big “family” gatherings was when we were doing house church and had everyone over who hadn’t gone somewhere else. Now that season is over, and we keep things pretty low-key. But it’s still my favorite time of year, for some reason, and I find myself fighting not to lose the sense of wonder and joy. It is not nearly as easy to keep Christmas in your heart at times when you have limited connection to family and friends, or when you don’t have a lot of money to do fun things or buy fun things. My church duties used to sort of mask the fact that we didn’t have much to work with. Now, that’s gone, too.
But if there’s anything I’ve come to know–if there’s anything A Christmas Carol teaches us, or indeed the story of the Nativity–it’s that the spirit of Christmas is not based on our outward circumstances. It is an attitude of the heart. It’s something you keep.
I know there has been a lot of talk in recent years, even among the church, that Christmas has pagan roots. I understand the history behind how the church developed Christmas as a counter to the winter solstice celebrations, all that kind of thing, and that Jesus was most likely not born in December. But the holiday that has emerged from all our various traditions still carries meaning. It’s a time of goodwill toward men. It’s a time to remember what’s really important. Choosing this time to remember the birth of Christ, and the hope He brought to the world with His coming–it should serve as a catalyst to bring out the best in us all. I know the commercialism surrounding Christmas sort of clouds this whole thing, but it doesn’t have to. Honoring the spirit of Christmas is a choice. And I choose it.
And so, with these ramblings (which looking at them now, I see clearly that I am in need of a cup of coffee), I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas.