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Well, here we are again, at Christmastime. I've been trying to think of a good post for the season, but they all come out too preachy or too melodramatic. (This might not be much better, actually.) The Best Wife Ever and I are busy as usual, and just like in those awful Lifetime movies, that makes it harder to get into the proper spirit.
However, I suppose that if you can actually plan around Christmas, that may also make it easier to compartmentalize the holiday into its own little packet of time -- say, 24 hours from the evening of December 24 until the evening of the 25th, when you look around at a wrapping-paper-strewn family room and realize someone's going to have to clean all this up....
Better, perhaps, to let Christmas come suddenly, in the dead of night, as it did to Luke's shepherds in the fields outside Bethlehem. Better perhaps even to have it highlight the complications of our lives and work with them, and through them, so we see its practical effects.
Still, I don't think of Christmas as a panacea. Not everyone learns a life lesson, and not every rough place is made plain. After all, the innkeeper doesn't give up his own bed for Joseph and Mary -- instead, he finds room for them out back, with the livestock. It's not very Lifetime-movie of him.
However, the Christmas message isn't quite "be happy with what you have," either. Christmas is about faith, hope, and change. The last shall be first. The meek shall inherit the earth. "Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord." The change is gonna come, for behold, its agent is here.
This holiday season has been stressful, to put it mildly, for more than a few of my friends and family. The stresses are all different, as are the methods for dealing with them. Some are losing (or have lost) loved ones. Some stresses are work-related. Some are just the logistical demands of the season. Christmas isn't going to solve all of their problems, and in fact may make enduring those problems more difficult. Again, though, the message of Christmas isn't ignorant bliss, it's the promise of a better world. The real gift of Christmas is the pause to honor Christ's birth. In that pause we not only rest, but may also contemplate that better world about which he taught.
Therefore, this holiday season, my wish for you is for that opportunity to rest and find the peace you need. A better world depends on each of us.
Happy holidays, blogosphere! See you next week.