“Praise the Lord! How good it is to sing praises to our God; for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting.” – Psalm 147:1
Christmas is ____________. One of the challenges of life in community is that there are so many different ways people choose to complete that sentence. For some it’s a prayer for peace on earth, while for others it’s a prayer for a day without a Mariah Carey soundtrack. For some it’s the chaos of family get-togethers, while for others it’s the unbearable weight of loneliness. For some it’s eggnog and sausage balls, while for others it’s fruitcake and those curious shortbread cookies from your great-aunt with the suspicious gelatin toppings on them (no thanks). For some it’s The Bells of Saint Mary’s, while for others it’s Bad Santa. Simple white lights or Yeti-sized inflatable Santas. Candlelight or a frenzied explosion of light-emitting-diodes, sunglasses required. The spiritual journey of Advent or elbow pads and Black Friday shopping.
Christmas is ____________. There are almost as many answers to that question as there are people. Inevitably, there will be a flurry of keystrokes made and a tanker full of ink spent as high-minded voices express their unassailable ideas of what constitutes a proper Christmas along with their caustic denunciations of anything different. Does it really matter, though? I don’t have to understand your Christmas traditions or like your Christmas cookies or appreciate your worship practice to hold open the possibility that Christ will be born anew for you this year. For Christ will be born and love will invade whether the soundtrack is Silent Night or Run Rudolph Run.
Perhaps the challenge is to not finish the sentence. Leave it as it is. Christmas is. And thanks be to God for it.