The Christmas Spirit
I’m hearing from many of you that you’re having trouble finding the Christmas Spirit this year. I understand your notes far better than I wish I did. Yet the Christmas Spirit lives; I know it. You do, too, under the surface clutter that’s keeping you otherwise occupied. And the bottom line is that it’s up to us to dig through that clutter and make room in ourselves for the Christmas Spirit to rise.
Four weeks ago, Hubby broke his foot and had to have surgery. Needless to say that has been a challenge for him. He’s been preparing for hunting season for months, and when it opens, he’s sidelined. And physically restricted. That has been a bitter pill for him to swallow that’s impacted us all. We’ve been sidelined from attending the tree lighting ceremony, Christmas programs, choral concerts and all the festivities. It’s also made it impossible for us to get down from the attic the tree and decorations. So we’re not aided in finding the Christmas Spirit by the visuals and traditions we typically enjoy.
Yet we’re spending a lot of time with Christmas music, and online Christmas memes and articles and graphics. Christmas recipes and so much more. As I write this, I’m recalling the quote of “When a door closes, a window opens.” And that is a blessing. Oh, we could moan and groan about the circumstance, but that does nothing to change the circumstance only to drag your heart through the dirt during it. So we choose instead to look for the windows and to enjoy them.
Last night, I intended to read a Christmas book. It looks intriguing and has mystery, suspense and romance—my favorite elements in entertaining reads—but I found myself thinking instead. I don’t know if that is just the writer in me or all of the upset going on everywhere, but my thoughts took over.
I thought about the election and all the turmoil in it and after it. Can’t be helped. Part of the price of freedom and must be endured by all. Yet what stuck in my mind is all the fear people are feeling and how much of it has been and is being inflicted by those who are supposed to be leaders. Those who seemingly have forgotten that public service is indeed about serving the public and its best interests.
I found myself praying for my country. My people. For healing. For compassion and, frankly, for strength. We had an election. We have a winner. It’s over. Let it go, and stop deliberately trying to sow seeds of doubt into the outcome. Enough is enough. Lies, hypocrisy, fake crises—the public you serve, leaders, collectively has had more than enough.
After the prayer (which included asking for patience for me; I am in short supply and admit it), I thought back to prior times of fear and uncertainty. To instances where I or my family were in jeopardy. Then I looked to other countries and how much jeopardy they are in right now. And that brought to mind the real dangers Christ faced in His life. Dangers God knew He would face and watched play out, knowing how things would go and end for His Son. How heartbreaking that must have been, to be fully aware and not fearing the dubious or nebulous but with full knowledge. As a parent, the impact is staggering. Yet, God did it. They both did. For the love of us.
And then I felt it. That spark of hope and renewal. That spark of faith in the future. Christ was born. Not in a palace surrounded by guards willing to lay down their lives to protect Him. But to simple means and in a time of turmoil. He didn’t just exist, he flourished. Not without incidents or risks, not because His path was always smooth and His way clear. He flourished because He believed. His faith, though sorely tempted, remained steadfast.
Again, I paused from the travels inside my mind, and prayed for that for us. For steadfast faith. For the wisdom He seemed to innately know that we flawed people must seek. I prayed for it for all, particularly for those I know have been struggling, and that’s when it occurred to me. It seemed so simple then.
When the Christmas Spirit seems elusive, it isn’t it that isn’t at home in us. We are focusing inward on ourselves too intently, shutting the door inside us to it. But when we turn our thoughts and deeds to others, the window opens wide. And the spirit of Christmas floods in.
Christ didn’t have to do what He did for us. God didn’t have to do what He did and does for us. They chose to, not for themselves but for us. I’m sure as certain a perfect parent would spare His child. I’m sure as certain that child would skip the trials and tribulations, too. So why didn’t they? They couldn’t skip the bad stuff and get to the good stuff for us, so they endured, and because they did, we too can flourish.
And, for me, knowledge of that opens all the doors and windows into the Christmas Spirit.
Wishing you and yours many blessings and a very Merry Christmas!