Putting Christ into Christmas

Published 7:46 pm Friday, November 27, 2009

We have blessed the food, given our thanks, and now we direct our energies toward Christmas.

It’s the time of year when sermons from the pulpit remind us that Christmas is more than retail shopping. We are admonished to place Christ back into Christmas.

Retail activity this time of year is extremely important to local businesses. December sales defines the year as either success or failure.

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We can return Christ to Christmas and still do what we normally do—shop, cook, bake, party, over indulge—but celebrate with divine purpose.

Placing Christ into Christmas is giving your time to shut-ins or seniors in nursing homes. Putting Christ into Christmas is saying a kind word to strangers you meet, placing a contribution in the Salvation Army kettle each time you pass, delivering a special homemade dish to a sick neighbor, or inviting someone into your home, someone who would have been spending Christmas day alone.

Placing Christ into Christmas is reuniting with old friends, those with whom you have lost contact, maybe someone you have not seen or spoken to in 10 or 20 years, discovering the joy of reconnecting—are they OK healthwise, how have their lives been enriched since you last made contact?

It is a season to re-evaluate ourselves, to give more than we receive, to help and to seek others in need, to extend a caring hand—a year-long Christ in Christmas.

We celebrate Christmas for the love and care we have for one another. We celebrate Christmas not so much for gifts received, but gifts bestowed. We place Christ in Christmas each time we mull over seasonal cards, selecting the most perfect message and the most beautiful scene of joy and hope.

We place Christ in Christmas each time we open our cupboards and share our food with those who might go without. We respond to charity drives that help others in need, give toys for tots, ride in motorcycle brigades and the mayor’s motorcade. We do these charities with full heart, doing kind things for others, putting Christ in Christmas.

Putting Christ in Christmas is playing Santa Claus witnessing the joy and wonder in the eyes of young children. We open our homes for fellowship. We decorate them with the symbols of the season. We radiate goodness and mercy. We come home from faraway places. We go home to faraway places. We joyfully exhaust ourselves.

This season, your mission is to stay the course on your eternal journey to chronicle these everlasting moments.

For a spiritual moment, sometime this season, enter your church alone. Closely observe Jesus on the cross. See him again perhaps for the first time. Experience the icon symbolically. Look deeply into the anguished face, observe again the pained expression that all the great artists through the millenniums have interpreted for us.

Feel the excruciating pain seething through his body. Get lost in an extremely emotional and personal spiritual moment.

What do you see?

What do you feel?

Is it compassion?

If it moves you, and you feel the immensity of one of Jesus’ greatest teachings—compassion for others—then you have placed the spirit of Christ in Christmas, exactly where it belongs.

May this symbolic season of Christmas bring you happiness and fulfillment, may your home be joyously filled with family and friends, and may the compassion of Christ, now in Christmas, be with you today and all days.