Saturday, December 11, 2004

Christmas is Coming

About this time, children of all ages have begun to feel an anguish burning in the pit of their stomach. Each night more Christmas trees light up family rooms. Each day mantles and hearths blossom with Pine garland, Poinsettias and empty stockings. In the midst of these transformations, children begin discovering the anguished longing of winter butterflies awaiting Santa. I remember them well and in some strange way I still feel them.

When I was a boy, it was about this time that I would begin checking the paper every day, which posted a small box counting down the days until Christmas. Every day I counted and recounted the days. Every night I turned and twisted in bed impatiently hoping for Christmas.

If we pay attention, our childish festivities might open our eyes to the mystery and wonder of our world. As our homes and hearts prepare for the coming of Christmas, we unconsciously acknowledge that Christmas comes to us.

While we know it’s coming, it still comes as a shock. It comes suddenly, like the birth of a child in the middle of the night. It comes like a twister turning our world around and upside down. It comes like a dream too good to be true. No matter how it comes, it comes.

Now it would be an odd Christmas, if upon awaking we went to the neighbor’s house and searched their stockings for surprises from Santa. It would be odder still if we flew to London and entered the house at 48 Doughty Street, searching under their tree for our Christmas gifts.

We don’t go to Christmas, it comes to us. Our particular home and our particular hearth becomes the threshold to all the mystery and magic of Christmas. We don’t have to search for it across the street or the globe for that matter. The magic comes to us.

Beneath the magic of Santa and songs and presents and play, Christmas holds a far greater mystery: the mystery of the God become man; the mystery of the child who holds the worlds in his hands. the mystery of the crying babe who comes to comfort the pains of this aching world.

Christmas hosts an absurdly wonder-filled mystery: the mystery that in the baby Jesus, God appears as a particular person at a particular place in particular time. In this wondrous act, he forever reminds us of the value of each particular place and each particular time.

It may be that we wait for the coming of Christmas because we are really waiting for the coming the Son: who will come and make all things new. It may be that as we decorate our mantles and hang stockings by our hearths we are highlighting the wonder infused in the place where we live.

Instead of longing to find that magic place beyond our world: whether across the street, across the globe or across the cosmos, we might come to discover the treasure of the place where we live. Our home and our hearth still glow with glory. Our job and our relationships, our bodies and our minds are not simply accidents or happenstances but gifts from the Creator.

Every breath is a gift from the Creator of all things. And in every breath He comes to us with mercy and grace. And with every breath we have the power to lift unceasing thanks for this wonder-filled life.

As we await for the coming Christmas, may we behold him who came, who comes today, and who will come again.


Bruce Goldinger said...

Reminds me of a poem I wrote entitled "The plastic angel".. do you remember it doug?


Doug Floyd said...

I remember when we were exchannging the poems at Philips, but I can't remember that specific poem. I would love to have a copy of it again.


David M said...
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David M said...

I think that Christmas came to me last tuesday. Madeleine helped me make cinnamon rolls. Instead of worrying over "perfect" cinnamon rolls, I watched her make a mess as she stood in a chair at the counter. She uses her own mini rolling pin and wears my apron. Best mess I've ever cleaned and best cinnamon rolls I've ever eaten.