So today I'll take the tree down, pack away the Christmas decorations, sort the leftovers to "eat fast" or freeze, all at a pace that is leisurely. The weather is threatening to end our Indian Summer fall and early winter and I'm happy for an excuse to stay close to home this weekend.
So maybe now I'll find more time to think about how interesting it all is. No matter how the World may fuss and fume with atheist rhetoric and efforts to co-op the story by kindly folks seeking to build bridges to what they do not understand; no matter the efforts to replace the forgiveness of Christ with the manipulation of the Elf-On-The-Shelf and no matter the general secularization, this celebration that spans the globe and the centuries and cultures and ethnicities with a unique message of forgiveness, love, purpose and hope, still persists.
As we drove to church and family events over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, I was struck again by the stillness of it all. Fast food restaurants, malls, service organizations, corporations all closed in response to the Christmas story. I can think of nothing else that has built such a track record. What other time is so likely to prompt the courage to attempt a reconciliation? What other time is so likely to engender the courage to respond with forgiveness rather than fear? What other time in the bustling USA does generosity of time and money pour forth in such abundance across such a wide spectrum of need?
Try as the World may, it cannot match the track record of the Love of the Child filling us so fully that we feel courageous enough to be generous, carve out time for others, consider mercy, practice forgiveness and experience the Love of God in new ways -- God's perpetual Christmas gift to us. This Love can draw us to a more persistent and consistent sharing of that gift with others by the way we live, love, laugh, work; grow in spirit and seek wisdom; be respectful of our mortal bodies; take time and spend time rather than struggle against time; remember more intentionally what we have rather, than what we covet; and allow love to drive out fear by the power of the Spirit of God with us.
I plan to be more Scrooge-like -- that is, more like the post-Christmas Scrooge of whom it was written:
(Scrooge speaking.) “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”
― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
O, Emmanuel, Son of the Father, thank You for sending us the Spirit of God every day, offering insight, wisdom, discernment, hope, faith, peace, forgiveness, reconciliation, redemption, renewal, purpose and Love, the greatest of which is Love. Bestir me to be Your Hands and Feet as You open my eyes to the needs of Your Children and where my resources will help. AMEN