The Christmas season is upon us. Virtually everyone considers it the most favorite time of year! (I guess it’s a good thing that hunting season also occurs in the winter, though, so that some people don’t have to make a tough choice!)
What is it that you like best about Christmas? When we were all younger, it was probably the fact that we received presents. Perhaps it’s the traditional holiday feasting that appeals to you. If you’ve got a good voice or ear, it may be the music. Lots of people are taken with the happiness festive decorations can bring. Maybe it’s the sentimentality of the season, since even the hardest hearts get a bit tender when viewing the crèche scene. Or maybe it’s the generosity which is so evident at this time of year.
The late Father Raymond Brown, probably the most pre-eminent American Scripture scholar ever, long held and taught that the Bible’s Christmas story is a short summary of the whole, longer history of salvation. (The technical word he uses is microcosm.) Maybe I can steal his idea a bit and re-work it: I think the Christmas story is also a microcosm of our own lives!
Our lives are complicated mixtures: we know “beauty in the midst of dirtiness.” We can appreciate feasting because we know what hunger is. We’re familiar with generosity because we also know how widespread selfishness is. Beautiful music appeals to us because we’ve also heard cries of pain and loneliness. But in the midst of the darkness of our life’s limitations, light shines! In other words, there’s “a little bit of the Christmas story” in each one of us! My prayer for you this holiday season is that you notice and savor the grace of Christmas, in your own favorite way – and that you notice how your very own life reflects Christmas so much!