Today I am thinking, “What is Christmas?”
Of course what springs to mind are the many sights and sounds that are forever in our memories of Christmas. The spectacle of brilliantly sparkling lights outline many of the classic Christmas symbols which dance through usually dark neighborhoods. Santa and reindeer and Christmas trees abound. Hearing the voices of Christmas carolers on our front doorstep, where people come together to make their own music shared door to door with neighbors on a chilly night, may be a thing of the past. However, today Christmas music echoes through the speakers of retail stores and restaurants beginning on Thanksgiving Day.
“What is Christmas?” if not good wishes and gifts. Festive parties with coworkers, family and friends all mark the weeks before December 25th. Everywhere we look we see the green and red colors symbolic of Christmas. Churches fill to overflowing with longtime parishioners and visitors for the Christmas services. Joyous church sanctuaries are bursting with bright red poinsettias and surrounded by jubilant choir members leading the congregation in song.
“What is Christmas?” The cynic might say, “What’s it all for?”
“What is Christmas?” I believe it is a time of year when we draw closer to God. When we remember how God drew closer to us by sending his son to be with us here on Earth. Woven into each bow atop a gift, each mixing of dough for cookies, each star at the pinnacle of each Christmas tree is the love we have in our hearts. That joyous infinitely flowing love is expressed through all of our actions in this Christmas season. We marvel at how happy we feel and how sweet these moments are in our memories. Yet it is here all year long quietly living side by side with us. Waiting for us to turn and notice it; say hello, hold its hand, visit with it without expectation of anything in return but the warmth of its embrace.
To answer the cynic “What’s it all for?”; “I don’t know”, is my reply. If he is looking for it to be something he can touch and see in solid form, I don’t know about that. If he wants it to be something he can test and be sure is really there, I don’t know about that either. Maybe for him it is nothing but the empty façade of lights and candy and colors. I don’t know.
But for me, “What is Christmas?” It is the belief that the love of God, toward which we turn, notice and celebrate in this season, is a love that is with us for eternity. It is ever present, flowing through us here and now and always. It is flowing in all directions of our glorious universe wherever all the loved ones are. Maybe our loved ones are right here in our homes, or overseas in a war, or expectantly in the womb of their mother, or even passed on to the next world. Wherever they are, we are joined together with the love of the Lord.
So in the end “What is Christmas?”….. A reminder of this love.
Merry Christmas !