As I was shoveling 4’ of snow off the back deck of our cabin last evening, I had a lot of time to think. Demands on my practice led me to wrestle more with the real meaning of Christmas.
As I mentioned in a blog posting a few days ago, many people call into my practice this time of year upset and depressed over the holiday season. They do not feel the spirit of Christmas. They feel lonely, forgotten, isolated perhaps, or, on the other side of the same coin, stressed out by getting caught up into buying things, managing debt, overeating, dealing with relatives, or trying to do too much in too little time.
As a long list of objections people have with Christmas rolled through my mind, an inner voice protested, “This ought not to be! Christmas is not about accelerating socializing, partying, eating, spending, buying, coping and pleasing personal sense. Christmas is all about the coming of Christ and the fulfillment of Christ’s promise, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’” (Luke 2:14)
Aw, yes, I especially liked the promise of peace.
Christmas is all about peace! A bright light turned on in my thought. Not a superficial, turn down the material noise and dwell in artificial material calm, type of peace. But a deep-rooted profound anchored fixedness within that comes from knowing one is a precious loved spiritual child of God.
I often watch people seek Christmas in the things they do, the places they vacation or the families they visit. But it seems to me that Christmas is not found in geography, society, or consumerism. It’s found in a mental atmosphere of prayerfulness and spiritual mindedness. And this environment of peace is equally accessible by one and all whether they sit at a dinner table for one or find themselves in a room of bustling human activity.
Isn’t Christmas about the peace of God taking over human consciousness, purging it of strain and stress, despair and depression, and overflowing it with gratitude, heavenly joy and love unbounded? I pondered.
Christ has come. Christ is here. Christ is leading humanity to a higher hope than any idealized temporal human scenario could ever deliver. Christ leads us right to heaven where joys are eternal, companionship with God’s family members complete, and love unfailing.
Heaven is home, and Christ takes us there.
On the eve of Christmas Day 2008, I wish you the very best Christ has to offer, and pray the peace of Christ so permeate your every thought and action, that after the day comes and goes, you march on feeling closer to God than ever before.
Merry Christmas! And peace, good will to you all.
Oh, and yes, I did finish shoveling the deck. It was a very productive time with God, indeed.