It's that time of year. I'm definitely getting into the Christmas spirit now. It helps that most of my Christmas shopping has been dealt with. It also helps that other people are catching the Christmas spirit and generating it all around. I love how people get mostly happy around Christmas. That is, other than the annoying last minute shoppers who are out to get everything off the shelves. They might knock you down in the process. There are a lot of people like that. I don't do last minute shopping for more than one gift anymore. I just can't stand the crowds and the angry customers.
Back to the happy subject. I was talking to my favorite insurance man the other day. He was so happy and Christmasy that I could not help but catch the infectious mood. Christmas is an amazing time of the year. It's the time when we all try to overlook other people's faults and have a good time with the people we love. It's a time when we ignore the artificial, superficial issues and strive to be better people. It's a time when we stop forgetting to tell our friends and family that we love them and we always will.
I just like Christmas. Other than the story of Jesus' birth, my favorite Christmas story will always be "A Christmas Carol." I think it's the only good Dickens story, really. It's short and to the point. It tells the story of one man's redemption. I am a sucker for stories of redemption. There's just something about Scrooge that rings truest at Christmas time. He's the old man getting washed away in the waters of baptism that God gave to us through Jesus. After that there is renewal. But none of that could have been possible without Jesus' birth as a tiny baby. There is an awesomeness in Jesus' birth that we often forget. It's not just a pretty picture book, or a cutesy story with fuzzy animals and hay. No, Jesus birth was as important as the events that followed his birth. It is a much greater story with far more truth in it than the story of Scrooge that I enjoy so much. It moves me to more emotion, despite the fact that it is a lot easier to identify with "A Christmas Carol" or some other more modern story that we watch or read at Christmas time.
But more than that, Jesus birth reminds me every year of the gift of grace God offered to me and to all people. That is something that no other story can capture, no matter how touching or emotional it is. This is because grace is more than a story and more than an emotion. It is beyond my ability to imagine or understand. The Christmas spirit is the time when I find myself most able to contemplate grace. And yet I still cannot fathom the wonder and power of God's mercy on humankind. To extend the same grace to each one of us with no resentments or annoyances. That is far beyond our human comprehension. God is good, and Christmas is the time of year that forces me to remember that fact. Let this dreadful ramble remind you not to get so wrapped up in plans and presents that you ignore the truth about Christmas.