Monday, December 17, 2012

Baby, It's Cold Outside

I'm a Christmas junkie. I really can't think of another way to put it. I can't get enough of Christmas. My tree goes up in late November, Christmas music gets put on and plans are made. And by late November, I mean the week before Thanksgiving.

Christmas is often bittersweet for me, but really, it's only because I make it so. There are many reasons to feel blue at Christmas. As if there weren't enough personal reasons, all one has to do is turn on the news and a dark, moody cloud awaits to cover you in gloom.

I'm sitting here, listening to Christmas music, watching the snow drift slowly down from the black sky out my window and it's just...nice. I feel a twinge now and again when certain thoughts pass through my mind, but over all, my life is good. I complain, too much. But tonight, I can't think of a single thing to complain about. Perhaps it's a Christmas miracle.

Or maybe it's just that I spent the evening watching Christmas programs with my children and it's really hard to feel down when you're cuddling with your kids on the couch watching a bunch of vegetables blessing a family in need. Ah, Veggie Tales, what would we do without you teaching us what is right (and that vegetables are awesome.)

I realized that I really really want my kids to understand what Christmas is truly about. I stopped going to church for selfish reasons, and at times I find myself questioning my faith, but I realize that I desperately need to make sure my kids have a firm foundation. I want them to know and love Jesus. I want them to understand compassion and the kind of love Jesus commands us to have for each other.

I guess that's really what I love most about Christmas. It's a time to really focus on what's important and then, a week later, we get to make a fresh start. Just like a fresh snow fall covering the dirt and muddy tracks  of past journeys, the new year is ripe with possibility. And really, a new beginning, a chance to do better is really the best gift anyone could ask for at Christmas I think. After all, that's what the first Christmas was all about; a second chance for humanity.

The one song that I've been thinking about a lot lately is "I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day." The lyrics just seem so poignant right now:

"And in despair, I bowed my head.
'There is no peace on Earth,' I said
'For hate is strong and mocks the song
of peace on earth, goodwill to men.'

"Then pealed the bells more loud and deep.
'God is not dead, nor doth he sleep.
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on Earth, good will to men."
At a time when a nation mourns the loss of 20 innocent children to a deranged gunman, despair seems appropriate, hope seems scarce. But we must have hope and take courage. Jesus is come to us! Christ is born, Emmanuel, God with us. Though it sometimes seems that our nation has abandoned God, God has not abandoned us. I believe this to be true with all of my heart. The time to dwell on the past is over. God is with us. We have new hope, a fresh start. It's Christmas time, once again.

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