Wednesday, November 13, 2013

There's something to Christmas after all~

Years ago, I worked with a Jewish gentleman.  He was a few years older than me, a social worker, and always volunteered to work the Christmas holidays because, well, because he was Jewish!  One year, we were chatting about Christmas decorations and the onslaught of earlier and earlier holiday items in stores.  I asked him, "Does it drive you nuts or is it all just off of your radar?"
His answer confirmed why it's important to celebrate big at Christmas if you're a Christian.
He said there was no music, in the entire world, as beautiful and moving to him as Christmas carols.  Old hymns or Jingle Bells...all gave him the chills.  He talked about hearing Christmas music in the mall and just standing there and feeling it physically, the joy.
He said he always accepted invitations to people's home during this holiday season just for the pleasure of sitting near a sparkling tree and looking at each ornament.  He was sorry that some people felt, for the sake of sensitivity, that they shouldn't include him in Secret Santas or give him Christmas cookies or other gifts.  In fact, he announced to his co-workers that he wanted to be a part of everything!
For most of his life growing up, Christmas was a distant cultural celebration not acknowledged in his home.  Of course, there was Hanukkah, and it was cherished and wonderful.  As a boy, he admired the Christmas lights but never particularly felt he was missing out.  Then, one day, a friend in college invited him to midnight mass.  A social work major, he thought this would be a good exercise in cultural awareness.  And so he went.
"I was like a little kid.  I stood there with the voices all around me singing these slightly familiar songs that I didn't know the words to and I almost cried.  I still don't know why, but when I hear those old songs, like Silent Night, I want to sit down on the floor and cry.  And there were these trees at the front of the church all lit up and holly garlands on the altars and it was unlike anything I had ever experienced.  I fell in love with Christmas.  I'm a Jew who loves Christmas although  I have no idea why.  Crazy, huh?"
He went on to say that when "you gentiles" (LOL) talk about dreading Christmas and don't want to mess with the decorations or complain about Christmas music, he's baffled.  I asked him if it doesn't all make him want to get to know Jesus just a little bit.  He grinned and said, at Christmas time, it's really tempting.
And this, friends, is why Christians should guard their hearts so that we don't become desensitized to the miracle. I'm not talking about the ever-mourned commercialization of Christmas.  I am suggesting, that the miracle of Christ's birth is so much larger and more amazing than the human mind can comprehend.  The redemption of the world is larger than what can be contained in our hearts; it bursts forth and finds expression in every small and large detail of Christmas.  Celebration, excitement, joy, laughter, even the ugliest of ugly sweaters!  All of it is the world forever stretching to fully express the relief of Jesus.  We groaned and died under such a burden of sin, and now it's gone.  We should light up the world, and the gaudier the better!  Turn up the music a little louder, make another batch of cookies, wear a Santa hat to work, eat a candy cane for goodness sake!
There is a world of unbelievers who pause in the mall to catch the strains of Oh Holy Night and think, "there's something to this."
Celebrate with your heart, be the light that leads someone to the manger

6 comments:

ninar said...

Sara, I just love how you put your thoughts into writing. I have been reading your blog for a long time and have printed off some of them to keep. Please keep at it! Nina

Becky said...

:)

Jada's Gigi said...

I love this! Yes! There is indeed "something to this"!

Deb said...

Beautiful post Sara.... Isn't it amazing how the Holy Spirit worked through the festivities, and the decorations, and the music...to draw your friend closer to Him?...I pray that he did eventually get to know Jesus....

Margie said...

Whoa. Good stuff!

Margie said...

Whoa. Good stuff!