I have to admit, I'm not much into the Christmas spirit. I see the neighbor's lights & wreathes & Christmas trees all lit up in the darkness... I hear Christmas carols from every era playing incessantly on the radio, in the grocery store, even at work. I see the bell ringers with their kettles & the homeless standing out on the corners looking extra cold & pitiful... I've driven by a few plastic creches, though they seem woefully outnumbered by mechanical Santas, Frostys & Rudolphs.
It just doesn't feel like Christmas this year. Many people in my circle of acquaintances have expressed this same sentiment. "We're not celebrating Christmas" they say. By "not celebrating", they mean minimal or no decorations, no tree, no gift exchanges & no big family dinner. Afterall, Christmas is really just another day. Christmas is commercialism. Christmas is family dysfunction. Its busy, its expensive, its exhausting. At least, this is what it seems to have become. People are tired of it. I know I sure am.
Has anyone ever wondered why we celebrate these things faithfully, yet somehow we forget the source that started it all? What is "the Reason" for Christmas the world over these days? And when someone says they're not celebrating Christmas, what do they really mean? Christmas is supposed to be a celebration of Christ's birth, of humanity's salvation, of Emmanuel: God With Us. But we seem to have forgotten. Christmas used to call us to peace (if only for a moment) within ourselves & toward each other. It used to call us to the quiet... to a "silent, holy night". It invited us to wonder. Imagine: God stooped to save us by sending us His Son! Joy to the world, indeed.
But then, no one really believes that drivel anymore... Its just "tradition". We don't need "saving" from a mythological place of torment... We experience the real thing day in & day out right here on this earth. No ethereal superhero is going to swoop out of the sky to help us. We have to save ourselves. Its easier to lay aside the fairy tales in the wake of reality (the national disappointments, the senseless murders, the blood thirsty media)... Where is God now? And where is His Son? We're on our own. Its time to wake up & join the real world, isn't it. But it seems we need saving now more than ever & in trying to save our selves, we've actually lost our selves... We've lost our hope, our peace, our joy. We've lost our sense of wonder. Its time to wake up, yes... to the reality of a real God Who really loves us & really sent His Son to save us. Its time to wake up to the reality of Christmas.
I, however, am still struggling...