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Christmas: delighting in little things

 

Last updated 12/6/2007 at Noon



Ah, Christmas – the most wonderful time of the year!

How do I love thee? … Let me count the ways …

I love the fresh smell of a Frasier Fir in early December …

I love watching the neighborhood

Light up for joy in the middle of the night!

I love singing along with Bing:

“I’m dreaming of a White Christmas”

(just like the ones we never know!)

And I love going caroling and ringing in the yuletide cheer!

I love the sound of Brenda Lee’s voice:

“Rockin’ around the Christmas Tree,

Have a happy Holiday!

Everyone dancin’ merrily

In the new, old-fashioned way…”

And I love the sight of my young son, Caleb, doing just that!

I love the way our whole family gathers to trim the Christmas tree

while a warm, inviting fire snaps and crackles ever so gently in the fireplace …

I love bundling up in sweaters and hats,

the Festival of Lights at Wild Animal Park

and the sound of little children laughing

as they take the big plunge down Snow Hill!

I love candlelight services on Christmas Eve,

Manger scenes and holy things

as the choir sings:

“O Come, Let Us Adore Him!”

I love sausage balls and Amish Chocolate Bread

On Christmas Morning

And the blessed joy of just being family

All together – at last – around the dinner table!

I don’t know about you, but for me, it’s all the little things that make Christmas so very, very special! But then, isn’t that the way it was meant to be?

At Christmastime we celebrate the greatest miracle of all … It’s the day Almighty God – the Omnipotent One, the All Powerful … became little … became small …for our sake … and for our salvation! Remember the words of the Nicene Creed:

God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God …

For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven;

He became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man.

Christmas is the day that God comes down … way down … to where we are … to the little town of Bethlehem. It was not to the high and mighty that he revealed himself, not to kings and emperors, but to the lowly and the despised, to the small and forgotten ones:

And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And an angel of the Lord appeared to them … (saying) “Be not afraid, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord!”

There is certainly a time for celebrating the hugeness and transcendence and otherness of God … but Christmas is not it. For example, I think of that stunning description of God in the Westminster Confession of Faith: “There is but one only living and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions, immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible …” A powerful depiction, to be sure, but hardly a fitting picture of the one who comes down to us on Christmas Day.

No, the God of Christmas reveals himself – not as “immutable” and “incomprehensible” … but as Immanuel – “God with us!” Christmas is not a time for celebrating an invisible deity, without body, parts, or passions, but rather – “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood” (John 1:14, The Message). This is a God who dares to become small enough to actually be touched and embraced by us. This is how love reveals Himself at last … and that is good news indeed!

Surely, St. Francis paints a much more fitting description of Immanuel when he declares:

You are love,

You are wisdom,

You are humility…

You are rest,

You are peace,

You are joy and gladness

This is the true spirit and meaning of Christmas!

Friends, this Holy Season, as we, once again, delight in all the little things that make Christmas so wonderful and precious and dear to our hearts, may we be ever mindful of the ultimate Little One … the greatest and most beautiful miracle of all:

Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there will be no end! (Luke 1:31-33)

Merry Christmas to one and all … and joy to the world!

 

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