There is a kind of magic folded into December days, a whimsical sense that anything seems possible. Life has those moments, too, tucked between all the challenges. They are the spaces that we would like to, somehow, stay in forever: cozy, safe, warm. Christmas offers us that moment to hold onto to, to sustain us. But it also encompasses the full circle of what it means to be human. Christmas is the reminder that nothing stays the same, that treasures are found in the mundane and that each journeying is simply part of what it means to be human.
Beneath the tree, the Nativity: parents and child, rejected and received, surrounded by the simple supports and conscious of interdependence, interconnectedness. Theirs is a world of the miraculous, of the kindnesses of strangers and the brokenness of others. Identities may be defined differently centuries later, but the essential elements are the same: humanity is home to incredible goodness and capable of such dreadful violence. There is tenderness in the lacing of parent and child, tenderness in the onlookers, compassion in the innkeeper. The story is a reminder of who we are and how we can be better. It’s elements are not culture-specific unless we determine that: it is a story of great hope if we allow it to be.
It is also the story of change: the changes that occur everyday with or without conscious awareness. Somehow, where Christmas seems to arouse nostalgic memories, there is the deeper truth ot growth and change, rich inescapable change. Living Life demands a level of change. Everyday, there are changes within us and before us, around us, and above and beneath us. Change is the vibrancy of being, a testimony to the awareness that nothing can stay the same and yet everything is somehow connected.
Christmas then is really about connections and compassion, change and growth. It requires courage and openness, genuine hope and the belief that Life does offer promise. Beyond all the holiday facade lies that truth, that very simple truth. And after all, that is what each new life, each child brought into this world offers as well.
Christmas is a celebration of the human and the divine, a recognition that there is more to the simplest of scenes and something simple behind the most ornately staged. Christmas personifies the human experience; maybe it is time for us to personify Christmas as well. Merry Christmas!