Every year, we gear up for this huge Christmas celebration. Try as we might to get into Advent and prepare for the rebirth of the Lord in our lives, we all get caught up in the sharing of gifts, the joy of the Season, the worry about who will do or say something to upset the “family celebration”, enjoying the music we have listened to and sung for most of our lives, and trying to figure out how we are going to get it all done, get to Worship, and not lose our sanity. We don’t want to disappoint the young ones and we want to honor those who are the Elders in our family groups. We want to decorate our homes and get lots of “ooohs and ahhhs” at how lovely everything is. We worry about the food we fix meeting everyone’s satisfaction. We want, we want, we want…
Then the day happens, there is joy, lots of surprises, great conversation, many gifts, outstanding food, and even some upsets that are quelled easily.
The next day there is exhaustion and evaluating how well we did at everything from gift giving to keeping the peace to providing nourishment for the body. Where was this loving Creator whose birth we were celebrating? Were we aware of the presence of this wondrous Love that reentered our lives?
When was the last time that we allowed Christmas day to be a real celebration of the gift of the presence and rebirth of this love in us, in each other, in the world? Have we ever just sung “Happy birthday Emmanuel, happy birthday to you?” Have we ever wrapped the gift of ourselves and given that to Jesus to rebirth ourselves in that Love? How would the day after Christmas be if we did this?
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I continued my faithfulness to you” (Jeremiah 31: 3) This is what we celebrated at Christmas. It doesn’t matter what we did, are doing, or will do, we are always and forever in the loving arms of the Almighty. If we can remember that, then Christmas day is great, AND every day before and after is exciting. We can be tired, upset at behaviors, satisfied that, in the main, it was a good day, and we can feel the presence within ourselves and marvel at the gift of the Divine presence in everyone else we celebrated with, that we Worshiped with, that we touched, gave birth to, love and everyone and everything there is in life. Now that is the Gift that keeps on giving!
Remember, Scripture says that “God so loved the world” (John 3:16). It does not say God so loved the man, woman, priest, Rabbi, Imam, or anything specific. It is the world. We celebrate every man, woman, child, plant, animal, rock, tree, every living breathing person and thing on this earth and outside of it. How can we not celebrate every day as gift, everyone as love, everything as the presence of God!
Enjoy the party, I certainly am. -Chris L.