Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Don't Forget the Love at Christmas

I sent out Christmas wishes to dozens of bloggers yesterday, and visitors may have noticed the nice response in the comment thread to my entry for Christmas 2007.

Let me follow up now with some additional words on Christmas, and especially on the deeper meaning of the holiday,
from this editorial at the Charlotte Observer:

Christmas season moves at a frenetic pace, and most of us move with it, dashing from chore to chore, place to place, event to event. The obsession to do it all is driven in part by the urge to make the most out of a joyful time that only comes once a year. Every moment must be the best, every gift letter-perfect and every get-together a lasting memory.

That's why many of us will go about our Christmas Eve today at a pace more suitable for winning the pole at a NASCAR race than savoring satisfying moments. Boxes must be wrapped, last-minute do-dads secured, gift sacks stuffed ... along with a thousand other trivial things we won't remember after the season is gone. By the time Rudolph and Santa take flight and the voices of church choirs warm the night, many of us will blink and say "What happened? Did we miss it?"

Yet it doesn't have to be that way. Perhaps we're old-fashioned, but it's up to each of us to decide what's most important, and pursue it, throughout what's left of this season.

How? Lasting memories require a willingness to set aside some time for people and things that are special, and won't go away when the glow of Christmas fades.

Forget about gift-wrapping. It'll keep. Instead, spend a couple of hours destroying the kitchen baking cookies with the kids.

Ditch the cleaning. That'll keep, too. Sit down, put on your favorite carols, turn on the gas logs and sing. The dog may howl, but you'll be more the merrier for it.

Finally, nix the search for last-minute trinkets. Make a pot of hot chocolate, call a friend and walk the neighborhood at dusk, watching the Christmas lights blink on.

There, feel better? We thought so.

Now you're ready for the next level.

Beneath the commercial prodding, the deep-seated urge to seek the perfect Christmas, there's really a very simple holiday.

It doesn't matter what you believe, Christmas is about the gift of love. A God who loved the world enough to send his only son. A man -- that son -- who loved perfect strangers so much he gave his life to pay for their sinful deeds.

Christians or otherwise, many of us can relate. There's likely somebody and some ideal that precious to most of us this season. If we're lucky, we can give the person a squeeze, and vow to uphold the ideal throughout the coming year.

The point is this: There's only so much time in normal lives at Christmas to pursue the perfect remembrance, mingle at parties and shop. But that's not what the season really is about. If we do too much, we'll miss the gift of love. All we'll have is an ache to do something different.

Think about that today before things get too busy.
I hope everyone had a peaceful and loving Christmas holiday.