Saturday, December 29, 2012

It came, still the same

I grow tired every year of the commonly accepted and shared idea both on TV and even among Christians, that for one reason or another, Christmas this year may not come.  In the movies, it's usually tied to some sort of tragedy that may yet happen to Santa Claus.  Among Christians, you hear them mention that Christmas may not come to certain underprivileged families if it weren't for our charity.

The Santa Claus idea, is of course, ridiculous.  Didn't the Grinch already try that?  He posed as Santa, and undid all of his work.  We all know the story, right?  He sat on the cliff of Mt. Crumpit, with his sleigh full of stolen holiday gifts, and waited for the crying in the Whoville valley to begin.  But it did not.

"That's a noise," grinned the Grinch, "that I simply must hear!"
He paused, and the Grinch put a hand to his ear
And he did hear a sound rising over the snow
It started in low . . .
. . . then it started to grow . . .
 
But this--this sound wasn't sad!
Why, this sound sounded . . . glad!
 
Every Who down in Whoville,
the tall and the small,
was singing--without any presents at all!
 
He hadn't stopped Christmas from coming--it came!
Somehow or other, it came just the same."

Dr. Doofenshmirtz also tried to destroy Christmas.  In that great modern animated marvel that is Phineas and Ferb, he created a "naughty-inator", that marked the entire town of Danville as naughty, and thus causing Santa to skip their town.  But as he plays his Secret-Santa gifted CD of Music by Sal Tuscany, he hears the lyrics rise in volume, "Christmas cannot be destroyed!  Not even by a naughty-inator!!!"

It isn't destroyed, of course.  Phineas and Ferb feel a rush of charitable Christmas Spirit, and with the help of little elves and good friends, they deliver the toys themselves, only to realize Santa was there all along, enjoying their rest stop they created for him on their roof.  Santa thanks them for "doing the Danville run", which allowed him a nice little break.  He hints at a higher order of things, that despite evil schemes, cannot be taken away from us at Christmastime.

In times of tragedy, war, or great sadness, we can be tempted to skip Christmas, or even doubt it's meaning.  Longfellow wrote the poem and now beloved Christmas carol, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, on December 25, 1864, during the American Civil War.  It was right after his son was severely injured in a battle, and the recent tragic death of his wife in a fire.

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

In the midst of war, and sorrow, he felt all Christianity had been drowned out by the sound of cannons, and the cries of families, now husband and fatherless.  But then the music of the bells ring a message of eternal truth, piercing to the soul.

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep;
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men"

Longfellow knew, as all good Christians must, that Christmas cannot ever be destroyed.  It cannot be destroyed, because the Savior came.  He was born, he lived!!  He lived a perfect life, of charity, of peace, of sacrifice.  He sacrificed himself for all of us, and he was murdered, betrayed by his own.  But not even death could hold him.  After three days, our Lord and Savior, rose again.  He was resurrected.  He lives!!!  He conquered pain, sin, sadness, and death.  He returned in all His glory, and we all love and worship Him, most especially on Christmas.

We don't need any of the fun traditions, colors, gifts, music, movies, or frills that come with Christmas, to celebrate it's meaning.

"And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling.  How could it be so?
It came without ribbons!  It came without tags!
It came without packages, boxes or bags! 
And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before.
What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store?
What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?"

Christmas means so much more.  Christmas is the meaning behind why we are here, our purpose in life, and where we are going after this.  Christmas is about the Savior, and following Him.  No amount of sad circumstances or loss can take away the miracle of Jesus Christ.  Not war, not poverty, not absence of loved ones, or even lack of faith or believing, can ever do that.  Christmas cannot be destroyed.

"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep!"

The gift of our Savior is free to everyone and anyone who will take upon themselves His name, and try to live like Him.  His gift is perfect, eternal, and will be denied to no one who comes to Him.

Good Christians try to reach out to friends and neighbors during Christmastime, and the love shared during this season is beautiful and inspiring.  But we are not saving Christmas when we share with the needy and less fortunate.  Because there is nothing to save.  The saving has already been done.

Even the forgotten, or those out of our reach, suppressed and imprisoned by tyrants, warlords, and other evil people who attempt to hurt, abuse, and destroy, can still be touched by the gift the Savior has given us.  While we cannot help them, the Savior can, and has.  There is nothing any being can do to deny the gifts of our Savior.  

To quote a great Easter hymn, He is Risen:

He is risen! He is risen!
Tell it out with joyful voice.
He has burst his three days' prison;
Let the whole wide earth rejoice.
Death is conquered; man is free.
Christ has won the victory. 

This year my family celebrated Christmas.  We couldn't all be together in the same room, but we celebrated just the same.  We were happy.  We found peace in the gift of our Savior.  We felt the eternal bonds of our family stretch across the world, keeping us together.  Christmas was not destroyed because someone was missing.  Our tiny family celebrated the gift our Savior, that began on a silent, sacred, holy night.  We are grateful for His love and sacrifice.  We know He loves our family.  We understand that our joy and blessings come through Him.  We were able to see, on that sacred day, that those blessings are precious, and are many.

So from our home to yours, may we quote the words of Santa Claus, who understands more than the movies of our time give him credit, "Merry Christmas to ALL, and to ALL, a goodnight."

May you find joy and peace in the gift that was yours before you were born, 2,013 years ago.
    

2 comments:

  1. I thought I couldn't be more proud of you. I was wrong. You're quite an extraordinary woman, Lizzy.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. I learned from the best.

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