My daughter and I had a delightful time yesterday. Each year we take a day to go to the small town of Lexington to see the decorations, visit the shops, go “junking,” as my Mother used to call it, find stocking stuffers, eat a delicious lunch and find ridiculous gag gifts for friends who live far away. It gives us a time to be “just girls”. It started out as a way to celebrate my birthday but has become a tradition whether it is my birthday or not. I was scheduled to have a skin cancer removed and the doctor wanted to do it in her Lexington office so we did not go on my actual birthday, deciding to incorporate the doctor’s visit in our celebration. It seemed appropriate – as I age more and more things are going to happen, good and bad!
Anyway, everything was so festive, folks were calling out “Merry Christmas!” as they left the shops or passed one another on the sidewalk. The little cafe was full of folks celebrating each other or the occasion. It was almost like a scene out of the movie “Christmas Vacation” but there were no carolers or ice skaters. As a matter of fact is was a somewhat balmy 40 degrees.
Regardless of the pressures we felt, decisions to be made, schedules to keep, lists “to do”, aches we felt we found ourselves caught up in the spirit of Christmas.
There is a special feeling in the air around Christmas, I have to admit. I don’t know when it begins…but it comes as surely as the sun. This year I felt it as I ran errands on a Saturday morning preparing for my grandchildren to arrive. I do not like to run errands, especially on Saturday morning but there was a sense of anticipation that was unmistakable.
The Christmas spirit had struck!
It comes at unlikely times and unlikely ways. It cannot be manufactured – though many try. Even in the most dire of circumstances, it comes. It does not come in Santa’s sleigh, or wrapped up in pretty ribbons or lovely carols sung by choirs. It doesn’t come with the feasting or partying. It’s not on anyone’s list. It cannot be bought.
I think the Grinch put it best, “Maybe Christmas…doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps…means a little bit more.”
And the little Whos down in Whoville got it right when, after they discovered the Christmas trappings were all gone, stood together and sang, “Welcome, Christmas, bring your cheer. Cheer to all Whos far and near. Christmas Day is in our grasp, so long as we have hands to clasp. Christmas Day will always be just as long as we have we. Welcome Christmas while we stand, heart to heart, and hand to hand.”
The Christmas Spirit has to do with doing for others – thinking of others before ourselves. And didn’t God start it all? He thought of us, poured His love out on us. “Who, being in the very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant,being made in human likenes. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:6-8)
He emptied Himself and took on the form of a baby. (Can you imagine the Creator of the Universe limited Himself to the space of a womb?) He loved us so much He found a way to redeem us – though it cost Him the death of His own Son. God is THE spirit of Christmas.