Christmas week. Seems like yesterday we celebrated Thanksgiving. Time speeds up as we age, doesn’t it? The older generation tries to warn young people about the passage of time, but it rarely sinks in. The acceleration of time is one of those things that needs to be experienced. I remember as a child, the weeks leading up to Christmas seemed to last a year.
My mom is in her 80s. I call her every day. I’m thankful to still have her. I hope my children feel the same. One advantage to aging and there aren’t many, is that we understand life ebbs and flows and priorities change. The accumulation of things takes a backseat to relationships. Christmas is no longer about what Santa will bring or how many presents are under the tree. Memories of Christmases past warm our hearts. My mom and I have reminisced a lot this year.
Christmas is a time when many families gather to celebrate. Loved ones and friends shouldn’t take one another for granted. We can’t afford to believe this one or that one will be around next year because they may not. We certainly didn’t think this year we would be celebrating without my husband’s mother. Many around the world will celebrate Christmas without loved ones and friends whose lives were cut short by COVID. One of our best friends in the world could easily have become a COVID statistic. We are eternally grateful he didn’t. Death tends to sneak in like a thief in the night.
In the end, when death does come, relationships are the only thing we take with us when we pass from our earthly lives into eternity. Relationships matter. When relationships are broken because of strife, misunderstandings, or disagreements, everyone is affected, everyone suffers.
For Christians, Christmas is the remembrance and celebration of God’s gift of reconciliation of the world through the birth of the Saviour. For others who don’t recognize Christianity’s version of Christmas, Christmas is still about reconciliation, about new beginnings. The old will pass away as the new year dawns. Either way, Christmas is a time to reconcile what is broken and start anew. To reconcile, our hearts must be open and forgiveness must flow forth in all directions.
In one of the most beloved children’s Christmas stories of all time, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, the Grinch discovered the magic of forgiveness and reconciliation. Exiled from his childhood home and the people he loved, the Grinch hated Christmas, the whole Christmas season. He sat atop Grinch Mountain plotting the demise of the Whoville Christmas. Aha! The lightbulb moment! He would steal the trappings and trimmings of Christmas. When Whoville woke on Christmas morning, there would be nothing! Except, that’s not what happened. Pondering where his thinking went wrong, a new thought dawned. “What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!” (Dr. Seuss, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas) Indeed, the Grinch discovered the best and lasting gift is the gift of relationships with others.
Wishing you and yours the gift of healed relationships this Christmas…..