The snow is coming down outside my window as I write. It’s the first snow of any consequence this year and more is coming later this week – according to the weather people, much more.
For those of you who live in more temperate climates, those of us in the north have a strong association of Christmas with snow. We haven’t really had Christmas until we’ve had snow! We’ll see how that works out this year.
It is interesting what goes into Christmas for most people that make it Christmas. People associate it with many things that don’t have anything to do with what Christmas is all about. Even religious people who claim to know the real meaning of Christmas identify it with a long list of things that you’d have a hard time finding in the original story.
The song It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas summarizes where most people are on this issue – it’s about candy canes in the five and ten, toys in every store, holly on the front door, and a tree in the Grand Hotel and a carol that you sing.
Add to that snow, lights, shopping, Santa, Hallmark movies, family dinners, and opening presents on Christmas morning (or Christmas Eve for you non traditionalists) and you have a typical American Christmas.
There’s nothing essentially wrong with any of those things, it’s just that they aren’t Christmas. In fact you could make the argument that they are the clutter that keep us from seeing the real Christmas.
Strip all of the peripherals away and the question becomes: Do you still have Christmas? Even without snow?!
We all know the answer: Yes, you’ll still have Christmas! But most of us will probably celebrate it with a little less enthusiasm. For some reason we think we need the snow! (and all of the other things).
This year is starting out to be different. Due to circumstances unthought of a year ago, Christmas will probably look a lot different this year. Not so many large family dinners. Not so many people around the Christmas tree on Christmas morning. Not so many carolers. Not so many shoppers (debatable).
But there’s an upside to all of this. Without quite as many distractions this Christmas we might even have a little extra time – time to reflect on Christmas – without the peripherals.
That will be something different. Time to think about what it means that God became man. Time to contemplate the love that God showed in the incarnation. Time for reflection, meditation, worship.
Time to do Christmas right.
Stay in the Word,