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Placing Christ in Christmas

NOTE: Back by popular demand, this Christmas message was published last year in this space in the Post Searchlight. We have had many requests to re-publish again this year. Last year, it also was published in The Tallahassee Democrat.

We have blessed the food, given our thanks of Thanksgiving, and now we direct our thoughts and energies to Christmas.

It’s the time of year when Sunday sermons remind us that Christmas is more than retail shopping. We are admonished to place Christ or His spirit into the real meaning of Christmas.

Retail activity this time of year is extremely important to local businesses. December sales define the business year as either one of success or failure—whether or not we open our doors again in January.

We can return Christ into 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. Placing Christ into Christmas is saying a kind word to strangers, placing a contribution in the Salvation Army kettle each time you pass, delivering a special homemade dish to a sick neighbor, or inviting a stranger into your home, someone who would have been spending Christmas alone.

Placing Christ into Christmas is reuniting with old friends, those with whom you have lost contact, maybe someone you have not seen nor spoken to in ten or twenty years, discovering the joy of reconnecting. Are they OK healthwise, how have their lives been enriched or changed since you last made contact?

It also is a time to remember those who have passed.

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 for gifts lovingly 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 bounty. We respond to charity drives, 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, placing Christ in Christmas.

Placing Christ into Christmas is playing Santa Claus and witnessing the joy and wonder in the eyes of children. We open our homes for fellowship. We decorate with the symbols of the season. We radiate goodness and mercy. We return home from faraway places. We go home to faraway places. We cherish past seasons within our Christmas memories.

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 as depicted by the artist. Observe again the anguish that all great artists through time have interpreted for us.

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

What do you see? What do you feel? Is it compassion, the compassion which defines this season?

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

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