Christmas December 2020  

The Christmas tree draws my eyes up to the top as the length of its branches recede. There sits the angel, perhaps Gabrielle, who spoke to a young virgin named Mary. He said, “Blessed art thou among women. Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.”   This is the season of miracles.

The garlands around the tree define its perimeter the same way my thoughts contend with the air around me as they cling to who I am. Disconnected thoughts escape and evaporate like the mist of morning turning to steam at noon. Keeping my feelings in check is a full time job. How easy it is to say something hurtful. It is harder to say something encouraging because it is a commitment like love and can be rejected. A “smart come back” is rarely a compliment but rather a zinger to get even with the person who dissed you. This is the season of encouragement.  

The ornaments hanging there evoke those remarkable memories of Christmas’s past.   The oval from 1984 marking the birth of our dear son. The first soft, opaque pastel globes we bought when we lived in Spain and the three kings with their white, red, and black beards with three different little crowns. The knitted, stained glass window by an unknown person who cared so much about us to go to all that trouble. We can never throw that one away. Charlie Brown and Snoopy. The lights portraying erect candles with bubbles that flow up from the heat. Other lights winking on and off. This is the season of light.

The tinsel, so reminiscent of the icicles clinging to the edge of our roof in Maryland, have been hung with care hopeful that Saint Nicolas would soon be there. The cookies laid out with a glass of milk for his pleasure and a carrot for Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer.  Crackling noise from the fireplace draws the eye to the glow of the embers; the warmth coming from it is a soothing tonic. There at the edge are the chestnuts getting hot on the inside and crisp in their shells. Soon we will crack them open and taste that luscious treat. This is the season of deliciousness.

No fire, no mention of food, no crib for a bed; He came to the earth as a human child to give us the greatest gift of all. Oh, that we could be like the wise men traveling from a far land to pay homage to the One; not asking for gifts but giving them. Escaping from the agenda of the ruler, who offered them recognition, they returned home in humility and dropped from the pages of history. They had done what they were called to do.   This is the season of travel.

Christ did what He was called to do. He forgives our zingers. He encourages us to be near to Him like the others around the fire. His eyes and the glow of his face draw us away from the distractions. What are you called to do in this yuletide season?   Who will you forgive? Who will you encourage?  

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