Saturday, December 18, 2010

Advent 4.6 - The Meaning of Christmas

Chartres Cathedral Nativity Relief

". . . including yourselves who are called to belong to Jesus Christ . . ."

Romans 1:6

Last week someone mentioned to me that he and his partner might visit one of her daughters, the mother of two small children, for Christmas, and then made that remark so often heard this time of year. "The kids are at an age when Christmas is still a big deal."

He meant, of course, the Christmas of Santa and freshly-baked cookies and gifts hidden away and excitement mounting to the point where, as I've described in a couple of posts about my own family, no one really sleeps on Christmas Eve.

I'm entirely in favor of Christmases filled with that kind of laughter and anticipation and freshness. We had a lot of fun around here for many, many years, and perhaps such times will come to us again as grandparents.

But as we approach a third Christmas in which the longing for someone who is not here is a physical ache in my heart, I found myself saddened by the reduction of "Christmas as a big deal" to the kind where little children spin like tops around lighted trees and heavily-laden tables.

Perhaps we know a small bit more about what a big deal it really is when we begin to understand it as the launching of God's great project, that new heaven and new earth in which every tear shall be wiped away.

If we are called to belong to the one born in a small cave in which animals shuffled around in the dark, then Christmas is still a big deal.

1 comment:

Karen said...

Caught up again. Your writing here is inspired. I am loving this blog and am greatly encouraged by it. I esp. loved the "harshness of faith" post. No one says it, but it's true.

When Christmas is over, you need to bundle these up and put them together in a book. It is imperative that you do so. This is the book so many of us need at Christmas time.

Thinking of you and the service tonight. Holding you and everything connected to the service in my heart and in my prayers.