Recently I read an article that suggested there are three ways to keep Christmas –
…at the Santa Claus level, with the decorations, trees, presents and food,
…at the Silent Night level, with the carols, Bible reading to review the story of Christ's birth, and traditions involving the symbols of Christmas,
…at the Adult Christ level with its lasting joy, lasting peace, and lasting hope.
It seems like the first two levels get the most attention, but they don't last and they go away quickly. However, the third level is one that requires spiritual maturity to become like Christ, with his forgiving touch and boundless love.
Here are some thoughts that help me keep my attention focused on the Christ in Christmas:
This Christmas, mend a quarrel, seek out the forgotten friend, dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Try to understand. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak love, and then speak it again. (Howard W. Hunter)
Gifts in God's Name
by Sigrid Undset
When we give each other
Christmas presents in His name,
Let us remember that He has given us
the sun and the moon and the stars,
the earth with its forests and mountains
and oceans –
and all that lives and moves upon them.
He has given us all green things
and everything that blossoms and bears
and all that we quarrel about
and all that we have misused –
And to save us from our foolishness,
from our sins,
He came down to earth
and gave us Himself.
If, as Herod, we fill our lives with things,
and again with things;
if we consider ourselves so unimportant
that we must fill every moment of our lives with action,
when will we have the time
to make the long, slow journey
across the desert as did the Magi?
Or sit and watch the stars as did the shepherds?
Or brood over the coming of the Child as did Mary?
For each one of us, there is a desert to travel,
a star to discover,
and a being within ourselves to bring to life.