Delightful mugs of cocoa in front of a lovely blazing fire while gazing at a beautifully decorated Christmas tree with carols playing in the background.
Christmas cards with Mary, innocent and beautiful, Joseph, strong and watchful, and a sweet sleeping baby lying in a manger of clean straw, with angels hovering all around.
Does this remind you of Christmases past?
Instead of the twinkling lights of a Christmas tree, Mary and Joseph saw the glorious light of an amazingly brilliant star. Instead of the sounds of carols being sung by a choir, they heard the hooves of the donkey, the clatter of carts on cobblestone and the laughter of children as they traveled to Bethlehem with the crowds of people. Instead of decorated coffee mugs they drank their cool water out of …. I’m really not sure what they used for drinking. Perhaps a clay bowl or a leather wine skin or possibly a wooden cup.
Sometimes as writers we make it dismal and hard or simple and joyful. As poets we clean it up, romanticize it or spiritualize it. As artists we might paint it as a brown desert scene or with snow or with a golden glow. Basically none of us in our present day know what it was really like. But regardless of how we imagine it, paint it or spiritualize it, the most important fact is this: HE DID COME.
Whether it was cold or hot, dirty or clean, beautiful or just raw. HE CAME
This Christmas my house is under major renovation and my usual routine of December has been totally interrupted. Last year I celebrated each morning by drinking from a different coffee mug and remembering how I got each one. I took a moment to stop and meditate on the true meaning of Christmas and even had a prayer focus on some days. I loved reading the comments and so many joined with me each morning.
This morning as I stood in the middle of the chaos-hammers banging and saws sawing-I realized that Christmas would not wait for me. It would still come December 25, ready or not! This year the ONLY Christmas decor I have is a few coffee cups and one poinsettia. So I have a new plan for this year. When celebrating Sabbath the Jewish people light two candles every Friday evening at Sundown. The first is to remember, the second is to observe or celebrate. My plan is to follow the Jewish example: remember and observe. At least once a day, with my cup of coffee, I will make a point to stop and remember. I will remember that although my house is a little chaotic it will come back together and be beautiful and new and different. That is what the First Christmas did: Brought order out of chaos and made all things beautiful, new and different.
This year I will observe and celebrate Christmas, even in all the mess. The word Celebrate means “to publically acknowledge a happy or significant event.” And that, my friend, is exactly what I plan to do. I will greet others with “Merry Christmas!” I will hum or even sing songs about His birth, maybe out loud in Walmart! And I will gather with friends, exchange gifts and keep a stash of cash easily accessible to give to the bell ringers of the Salvation Army. I will celebrate the most significant event in all of history: His birth, His death, and His resurrection.