Merry Christmas Eve! I promised you two blogs this month to make up for my previous negligence, so here it is, Folks. Enjoy!
Calvin Coolidge once said, “Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” As Christmas draws near, this saying is becoming more and more realistic for me. In the States, it is hard not to get drawn up into the commercialization of the season and all the craziness that accompanies it. But not only that, the seasons change and the weather grows colder – even bringing snow if you’re lucky enough to live in such a place. Here, it’ll be just another day. Sure, there are decorations set up in town and sure we will feast on roast beast (Grinch reference), but for many, it is just another day off of work.
Growing up, it seems that I was constantly reminded of the saying, “Remember the Reason for the season!” This implies that we need to look beyond the rose-colored spectacles of the world and into the story of the Babe in the manger. But what does this really mean? I used to think, I guess I still do, that this meant we needed to reminisce on how God’s greatest Gift was brought to earth and wrapped in swaddling clothes. But as I grow older, I also end up discovering new meanings to [old] sayings. For instance the one mentioned above: this year I am applying the concept of simplicity to its meanings. Allow me to explain myself. When Jesus was born in a manger in Bethlehem, there was nothing extravagant about the occasion. To the world, it was just another silent night. Nonetheless, those who were looking for a Messiah found just that. Here in Africa, we’re missing the snow, the lights, the evergreen tree, caroling, blazing fires, and general, all-around Christmas spirit. However, I believe we can still find the things that count and even a few on the side if we actively search.
You’ve seen our Christmas decorations (if not, stalk through my Facebook photos for a bit) and honestly, they aren’t the prettiest out there, but they are the best we could do and that’s what makes them so special.
This is what I believe part of the iconic saying means. The Grinch put it well: “Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more!” So enjoy the simpler things this Christmas like family, friends, and good tidings – I know I am! 😉
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!