You either get it or you don’t. And no, I’m not talking about presents. I’m talking about that old-fashioned Christmas spirit, the kind you probably had as a child but that has waned for so many people since. There’s something about that magic associated with it when you’re little. The elves, and the Christmas wish list, marked down and checked twice, then decided upon by a jolly elf who lives on land in a landless area of the globe. You know, somewhere up north.
Then, whether or not you have a chimney, he somehow arrives in your living room when everyone (and I mean everyone) is fast asleep so no one can witness him. But he drinks the milk you left, and he eats the cookies, always leaving a few little crumbs to enhance the idea that HE was here, that HE granted you an audience even though you were asleep, that HE felt you were worthy enough to get the presents you wanted most in the world.
As I sit here drinking coffee on the morning of December 22nd, I wonder where that Christmas spirit went. And I’m not just talking about the magical nature of the holiday for little kids who get presents they don’t need. I’m talking about the spirit of the holidays that goes even farther back and is more intense than that. I’m talking about that day long ago that inspired the feeling of Christmas in the first place, and that also gave the holiday its name. Now, I’m no Linus (Charlie Brown reference, people. Stick with me), so I’m not going to give you the whole spiel about Jesus being reborn as a human in a manger in Bethlehem in order to save us from our sins. Oops, I guess I just did. But what I’m going to do instead is to talk about the spirit that comes along with remembering the original Christmas story, instead of focusing on a jolly elf in a red suit who can talk to reindeer.
I spoke with a woman once who had a tale to tell. It was about a family who had nothing, a good family, an honest family, a hardworking family who for some reason or another could just barely make ends meet, and so had nothing left over for presents on Christmas day. They had three children and lived in a seedy part of town, but they had love, they had fellowship, and they had an appreciation for Jesus Christ. They knew the real reason for the season, but they felt awful that their children weren’t getting the experience that others were, that they couldn’t provide just a little of that magic for their kids.
Well, late on Christmas Eve, a vehicle pulled to a stop outside their front door. Continue reading “That Christmas Spirit”