Saturday, December 25, 2010

So This is Christmas


"So this is Christmas,
And what have you done?
Another year over, And a new one just begun"
John Lennon

What is Christmas? Every year I ask this question and wonder why I can't seem to 'catch the spirit of the season'. For me, 'tis the season for Christmas malaise (for an eloquent discourse by David Taylor, click here). Many times I have been donned Scrooge. This year I decided would be different- I would be prepared with handmade gifts, I would make a long-overdue trip to see out-of-town family, and, I would change my attitude about what the Holy day called Christmas has become. Alas, some gifts are still in progress, the trip hasn't happened (yet) and my attitude is being worked on.  After all, I am grateful for Christmas; a reminder that I am loved by the Creator and Owner of eternity. 

So we give gifts. I am ashamed to say I don't remember many past Christmas gifts, given or received. There is one gift however that my family still talks about. My sisters and I were young and we wanted to give our parents something 'from us'. Pop gave us the money and Mom drove us to the store. Proudly we presented our hand-picked treasures that Christmas morn. There were smiles and 'thank-yous'. Then Pop opened my sister Debbie's gift. A pause ensued as Pop held up an art gum eraser. Finally the explanation- at some point in the shopping process my sister remembered the purpose of the trip. She then had enough money left to buy a gum eraser. 

 So many times I have gone to God the Father and said, "I have nothing to offer You. I've spent it all on myself." As I ponder the 'thing' my sister chose to give my Father that Christmas- an eraser, I realize it may well be the perfect gift a child can offer a parent. 

When we talk of a man doing anything for God or giving anything to God, I will tell you what it is really like. It is like a small child going to his father and saying, "Daddy, give me sixpence to buy you a birthday present." Of course, the father does, and he is pleased with the child's present. It is all very nice and proper, but only an idiot would think that the father is sixpence to the good on the transaction. 

(C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity)

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