Thursday, December 25, 2014

Never Miss Christmas Again!

My son, my firstborn was born more than twenty-four years ago. In less than a day, my life changed forever. I'd waited more than nine months to meet this little life, growing and changing, reading and learning, but nothing could have prepared me for the love, the almost instantaneous bond, the dependence between us. His first communication, a loud, strong, "crackling" wail gave me goosebumps, and rings in my ears even today. His scent, his tininess, the softness of his fingers, the warmth of his body against mine as he nursed, his coos, his infantile and unsteady movements -- all turned my heart inside out. I had become a "we," and nothing could ever be the same.

Last night, Christmas Eve, I should have been at church celebrating the arrival of A Holy Babe. Instead, I was at home, in pajamas, nursing the cold that has been plaguing all of us for the past three weeks or so. I was disappointed, sure, but mostly I was out of sorts. I don't like staying home from church under any circumstances, but on Christmas Eve... As I looked on Facebook today, at the many pictures and posts of last night's celebrations, I became even more out of sorts. If I can't celebrate it "properly," it's almost as if the holiday has completely passed me by -- like some Scrooge who never woke up from his dream, I have slept through Christmas Day. I suppose, if I were like Scrooge, living alone and choosing to remain cut off from folks, I could stick the tree out for tomorrow's trash, stow away all the lights and bows, pack up any remaining gifts, and vow to give it another go next year. But does Christmas stop being simply because I missed the hoopla, or even if I were to refuse to acknowledge it ever happened? No more than my son has ceased to exist to the people who were not present the day he entered that room.

Jesus, our Savior entered the humblest and neediest of bodies, under the simplest and most insignificant of circumstances, so that He, the God of All Creation might be joined with us, might know deeply and experientially our struggles and joys, might understand our limitations, might bond with our needs and emotions, might prove to us His inexplicable love for us, might be the perfect substitute for us as He fully accomplished something necessary and wonderful for us. Now folks can deny that, can change the story to some grand myth or allegory, can hide under their bedsheets or behind their "civil rights," but denying something has never made it cease to exist; calling something a fairytale doesn't make it Mother Goose; rejecting someone doesn't negate their authority over, or devotion toward you.

My son and I have a bond, through blood and tears, laughter and love, that no one would ever think to deny. Whether you've "missed Christmas" or you've been sitting in that same pew for the last thirty-four years, no one can change the story that changed the world more than two thousand years ago. Love it or hate it, deny it or accept, nothing will ever be the same; it is my prayer this Christmas Day that you will not be either.

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