Welcome to December! And welcome to my favorite time of year!
As a child, Christmas was all about lights and color and music and magic and, of course, toys! Growing up in Southern California we did not have the wintry weather much of the world experiences. Cozy evenings by the fireplace were foreign to me as we had no fireplace. The lovely scenes depicted on Christmas cards fascinated me and I dreamed of one day finding myself living in a snowy wonderland.
Christians all over the world refer to this season as Advent. Advent is a time of preparation and anticipation. The exact date of the birth of Jesus is impossible to know, especially since the calendar we use now is nothing like it was over 2000 years ago. Many believe December 25 was selected partly because it coincided somewhat with ancient festivals around the time of the winter solstice. In fact, many Christmas traditions have their origins in those pagan celebrations!
The music of Christmas is some of my most favorite of all. I miss making music. ALS has taken that away but it cannot take away the joy of listening to music.
I do miss singing and playing handbells. This year marks the second Christmas I am not playing bells all over town. But I have been listening to my favorite carols and songs already on my iPad and laptop. The “Sounds of the Seasons” channel on music TV has been favoring us with a mix of classic carols and obnoxious silly songs. Having that on in the background is impossible due to some of the more offending “songs”!
I find it fascinating that some people – perhaps most? – celebrate something they call Christmas without any thought pertaining to the Christ of Christmas. December 25 is simply a fun holiday. It’s an excuse to wear silly hats and sweaters, string lights everywhere, spend money they don’t have, and party. There’s nothing wrong with a little silliness, by any means! And I absolutely love Christmas lights! But Christmas wouldn’t BE Christmas without Jesus. The miracle of God coming near to us in the form of a tiny child is what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown!
This is an extremely busy time of year for many people. That can lead to stress which can lead to illness. It is so important to slow down whenever possible and just contemplate the wonder of it all. That God loves us so much that He would send His only Son to live among us, to take upon himself our sin, and to die to save us.
Now, before I give the impression that I am all seriousness and piety, you need to know that I absolutely love all the Christmas trimmings I see everywhere! The sights, sounds, and smells of Christmas light up something inside me. They fill me with wonder. Once again, I see the world through a child’s eyes. And for a moment the magic is back. I don’t see any conflict here. I still know that Christmas is a celebration of Jesus’ birthday. I don’t presume to know how He would feel about giant inflatable snow globes on front lawns, or flashy light shows set to music! But I suspect He enjoys seeing His children happy.
Over the next few weeks I plan to watch a few Christmas movies. We are hoping to attend a concert this weekend and a “holiday party” the weekend after that. Whether or not these events take place is not important. More important to me is the love of my family as well as the certainty that I am loved by the God of the universe. ALS is powerless against love!