Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The most wonderful time

I'm the first to say that Christmas is too commercialized.

I'm the first to complain about the focus on Santa, on spending, on the perfect gifts.

I've also been known to speak ill of too much concentrated family time, of the chaos, of crabby little brats and tired, embittered adults who fill each Christmas season.

But now I must speak of the other side: the reason we observe this day.

There was a babe born, laid in a manger, adored by strangers. There was a star that guided them there. I believe these things; they are not mere stories. Does it really matter whether it happened on that particular day? That the season in which we celebrate may or may not have been determined by pagans? That the baby might not have looked the way I picture Him, or the way that thousands of other artists have depicted His royal countenance? The point is this: He came. Here. To be one of us, because it was the best way to be "with us."

With us. Emmanuel.

If you don't know this King, I pray that you will. I pray He will come into your heart and stay. But—you must invite Him in. He will never force His way, will never pry the lock on your distrusting soul. It takes a small step by you, and a giant leap by Him.

Don't let Christmas in the land of materialism harden your heart. Hear that babe knocking. Picture Him, like any other little one. But not like any other: so much more. He is our greatest gift of all. He is hope. He is love. He is your savior, your friend, if you let Him.

Merry Christmas to you. It is merry, in spite of whatever is happening right now. We have a Savior. His name is Christ, the Lord.

P.S. Here is a link to a blog for a pastor at our church; it has a neat little story about Handel's composing The Messiah. Check it out!


Athelas63 said...

I know what you mean. It's so easy to forget and then (thankfully!) a reminder will come out of nowhere. Mine came last night about 1 AM as I wrapped presents.

I had let the TV run for hours, showing the movie The Nativity story twice over as I baked and cleaned.

Then, as I sat down to take a breather and wrap the last few gifts, there was Mary, in the stable, the Wise Men approaching with looks of awe and wonder on their face.

A shepherd near the manger reached out fearfully to touch Him, then drew back. Mary pushed the baby toward him, saying "He is for ALL mankind."

Next thing I know, I'm in tears. Yeah, some of it was because it was 1 AM, LOL, but some of it was also gratitude and the mystery of "Unto us a child is born!"

chris h. said...

Thank you, Mel. We went to the early Christmas Eve service at Mike's church this year, and they had a soloist -- a grad student in voice at Duquesne -- a mezzo soprano. Her rendition of Oh Holy Night during communion was so beautiful! I teared up several times during that service, as I do every year.

Mel said...

hey gals! so glad you both were "feeling it" too this season. even if it was tinged with tiredness. ; ) and there's nothing like a talented soloist to remind us of God's gifts, yes?

Mel said...

Thanks for stopping by, Leonardo!