Merry Christmas to all! The big day is just around the corner. We have a weekend of festivities, culminating in Monday's Christmas Eve and Christmas on Tuesday. Yesterday the ominous December 21, 2012 end of the Mayan calendar occurred, and predictably, the world did not end. In this Christmas season, it might be good to note that Jesus said no one will know when that moment is coming.
The best things about Christmas have nothing to do with buying gifts, mailing gifts, shipping gifts, giving gifts, or receiving gifts. These activities are based upon the gifts brought to the family of baby Jesus to the manger in Bethlehem. Of course, the text does not say it was three wise men. We have inferred three wise men from the three gifts they brought - gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Nonetheless, it reminds me of one of my all time favorite songs of the season - "We Three Kings." We sang it with vigor under the direction of our beloved, late Lufkin Junior High choir director Annabel Carter.
Christmas is about remembering the story told in the Gospels about the journey of Mary, pregnant with Jesus, and Joseph, her husband, returning to their home region to be counted in a census. It is the story of shepherds guarding their flocks by night. It is the story of there being no room in the inn, so the young family had to be quartered in another area. It is the story of angels seen and heard on high.
The season is about fun with family. It is about bringing cheer to others and to ourselves. It is about putting up lights, driving neighborhoods to see those lights, and creating Christmas traditions within families. It is about gathering around a piano and singing songs which we learned as children and still cherish singing and hearing today.
We eat too much. We laugh too loud. We stay up too late. We watch too much football. We eat too much, again. We hang out with relatives, and we say good bye to relatives. Some of us travel far and wide to see relatives. Traveling to see long distance relatives is often the one time in the year when family members get to visit.
We try not to forget the meaning of Christmas. We try to remember its genesis, and keep those thoughts in our minds.
The little ones clamor about, hearing stories of Santa Claus, his elves, his book of who has been naughty and who has been nice. We read them the poems we all loved hearing as kids. "Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse." We teach them songs about the reindeer up on the rooftop. Or about that one lonely, dejected reindeer, Rudolph.
It is a season to be kind, to be caring, and to share the season's best with friends and family. As the song says, "we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!"