I write this in early November. I am trying to get ahead on blogging as the holidays come careening down upon us. Despite the encouragement of Season’s Greetings commercials that have been with before Halloween, my Christmas spirit has not been diminished. I have been thinking of the many surprises of Christmas for a few weeks now.
When I first consider Christmas, I view it as a Season for Innocents. At Halloween, my three-year-old granddaughter offered a preview of the excitement of a season of gift-giving and receiving. She was over the top anticipatory and then engaged in the wonders of tricks-or-treats.
Christmas, when viewed from the eyes of the unsullied becomes a time of unexpected random generosity. Because of the surprise of it all, it attracts and fascinates our attention. We are overcome with gratitude.
What to our wondering eyes should appear… but a newborn King, away in a Manger. No one expected it to be that… Surprise!
But, Christmas is even more. It is a Season for the Damaged and Hurt. This Christmas comes as both the end of a long journey and offers promise as a commencement point offering depth and newness to my life. I am not a tragic figure, but Christmas comes at year’s end of considerable upheaval along the path, searching for good news and grace in transition and seeking to fill emptiness. A new year with new promises and commitments is exciting.
Christmas offers hope. On the darkest of night, stars dance and light a path towards the Lord. Angels visit shepherds, ostracized in the fields, and share good tidings. Kings wearing the finest enter into a dung-y stable and offer the finest of gifts.
Do you hear what I hear? We must speak of good news. Our prime feasts in Christianity revolve around Christmas Life and Easter New-Life. We find this in the death of winter and in the budding growth of Spring.
Christmas also serves as a seasonal reminder that God is with us, always, beyond all time and seasons. God so loved us that the Creator sent his only Son to walk alongside us. And Christ remains with us. God is here. Not only in the moments that ignite our enthusiasms or speaks to our sufferings. We are to seek God in all moments, mundane or grand.
Of course, the one who best spoke this was a blanket-wielding fictional young man. Lights, please.
Surprise! That’s what Christmas is all about.