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Merry Christmas to us All!

I love Christmas!  I love its sounds, its smells, its colors, its food, its traditions, its movies, and its songs.  I especially love the music, whether it is by The Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Bing Crosby, or Amy Grant.  I appreciate that FM 92.9 plays Christmas music 24-7 from Thanksgiving through Christmas day!  I leave it on in my office and never tire of hearing the same songs over and over.  I will eventually annoy someone humming or whistling Winter Wonderland, even though it never actually mentions Christmas.

I love seeing wreaths and reindeer antlers on cars, and I enjoy wearing hokey Christmas ties, sweaters, and socks.  I am currently on the lookout for some more seasonal attire.

 I also enjoy our usual Christmas weather that paints everyone’s noses red, as well as my memories of Christmases past.  Our family has managed to avoid much of the drama and family conflicts that color Christmas memories for some, or at least they managed to avoid me; thus, I am left with only pleasant memories.  I suppose that I pretty well love everything about Christmas.

I also enjoy the attitude of sharing and gift-giving that comes with Christmas. This tradition springs from the gifts that the “Wise Men” brought to the baby Jesus long ago and has been a major part of Christmas in many cultures for generations.

I suppose though, that my favorite thing about Christmas is that we Christians celebrate the birth of that baby in the manger.  We are again reminded that the Prince of Peace, Emmanuel, the Son of the Most High, the Messiah, the Rose of Sharon, the Lamb of God, the Alpha and Omega humbled himself and came to live among us.  This is the “big deal” of Christmas, and it is “big news” for us throughout the year because that little baby came to be our long-term care policy!  This is the news that allows us to live our lives as redeemed people, full of hope and confidence.  It allows us to put the trials and challenges of our daily lives into perspective and focus on what is truly important.

 I am reminded of William Cullen Bryant’s contemplation of his own death as recorded in his masterpiece Thanantopsis. My high school senior English teacher, Mrs. Pearle Wiles, required all of her students to memorize the last stanza of Mr. Bryant’s classic.  To this day it easily comes to mind; the last portion is “sustained and soothed by an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave like one who wraps the drapery of his couch about him and lies down to pleasant dreams.”  It is that baby in that stable from long ago who gives us the courage to approach the future with such a mindset.  That is truly the gift of Christmas for all of us who flaunt the “wisdom of man” and believe that He is who He said He was.

So have a wonderful Christmas!  Whether you are still in school, struggling to pay tuition or mortgages, raising kids, or preparing for retirement in today’s uncertain economy, it has ever been thus; so take time to enjoy the season.  Yes, I know that money concerns can be a part of this season and an unavoidable part of our lives; indeed, money does matter.  But ultimately that baby in the manger can help us keep financial matters in their proper perspective because, and this is what really matters, He is still with us. 


Fly/Drive Safely

16 December, 2013

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