by Pastor Kathy Itzin
Christmas is the season when we celebrate love. We cherish our families and friendships. We let people know that we love and appreciate them. It is also a time when we dearly miss those who aren’t with us anymore.
Christmas and New Years can be the times of our greatest joys, happiest memories, and saddest feelings all together. It is a life-mixture of nostalgia, tenderness, beauty, and grief. The grief can be for what was, and is no longer, and for unfulfilled hopes and dreams.
That wonder, joy, and grief together is exactly where God is present. The original Christmas included the birth of a newborn son, the absence of loving relatives, great love between a father and mother, fear, poverty, the miraculous promise of God fulfilled, and an uncertain future in Egypt, a foreign land. Jesus’ family didn’t speak the language, know anybody, or have a secure income. This was the first Christmas!
It’s not news that God is in the love that we celebrate and share with one another. We also know that God is with us in the depths of uncertainty and sorrow. Is this the meaning of Christmas? The Grinch That Stole Christmas says:
"He puzzled and puzzled ‘till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. Maybe Christmas, perhaps…means a little bit more."
The birth of Jesus is certainly one of God’s greatest gifts to us. So is our own existence on earth, and the amazement of even being alive. At the same time, we share in the Light and Love that God spreads, and we have amazing power. Jesus’ mother, Mary gave birth to ‘Emmanuel,’ ‘God-With-Us,’ ‘God-in-the-World,’ and we can do the same.
We can transform any situation and bring more love, more justice, more kindness, more tenderhearted strength and care for the vulnerable, into the world. We not only can, but we do! With the help of God’s Spirit, we are making things better, and that makes us better. More light, and more love continue to enter the world.
During this time of short days, and early darkness, it is good to remember that we join God in adding light, hope and love to all of creation. Jesus was born, and God continues to be re-born, every day, through us!