Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
What Other Birthday, Indeed!
A few days ago we had our annual Embracing Life Christmas party, traditionally held at my seasonally festooned home in Pasadena. Our Board members, volunteers and their spouses gathered for a cozy meal, to sing carols, and enjoy a riotous time of ornament exchanging; all the while squeezed into my spatially-challenged living room. (In truth, the crowdedness really adds to the merriment that erupts amongst us friends!)
This year, Debbie suggested we also take some time to reflect on special family traditions that we experienced growing up. Lots of familiar and a few distinctive memories were shared. Seemingly, most everyone could recollect fond moments, embedded in the season, when familial relationships -normally
so harmonious for a few - managed to come together and produce sensory joys and childhood wonderment.
Growing up in my home , the Christmas season was the one time in the year when my fractured family came together and sincerely focused on recreating those comforting rituals that bound up Christmas for the Hunters: opening the daily Advent calendar; finding the "perfect" tree and decorating it on Christmas Eve; hanging the stockings, wrapping presents, cocooning by the fire. And, living back East near Philadelphia, there was a good chance we might even wake up to snow! It was an emotionally satisfying time to relish brief glimmers of what family togetherness might possibly be like.
This got me to thinking about my slow creep of preparing for Christmas, ever-earlier each year. (Uh-Oh, I think I'm going retail -Yikes!) No doubt, I want to sustain the anticipatory feelings for "the Day" as long as I can. And why not?! There appears to be quite a few people who feel the same. Whether one is a Christian, or
, there is unquestionably a spiritual shift
in the air
at this time of the year...virtually all around the world. No other holiday produces such an effect on the soul. And so it should be for its origin still reverberates in proclamation: "To us
a Child is born, to us a Son is given."
What other birthday has
existed that has commanded such extravagant attention, year after year, throughout the ages, except that of our blessed Savior Jesus Christ. The "Good News" of our Savior's birth in Bethlehem still manages to captivate the world every December, wooing our thoughts and affections, once again, with the music of true Hope, Peace, Love, and Joy.
So, I've arrived at a settled place in my heart. I'll take it all: the crass and the sacred, the "Jingle Bells" and "Joy to the World". 'Cause no matter how it's being celebrated, Jesus really is the
reason for the season. It is
Birthday. It's Christmastime!
Love and Blessings to You and Loved Ones,