I hope you have been enjoying the holidays. We had a very nice Christmas.
Christmas Eve was spent with my mother-in-law and my stepdaughter and her family. Then we had Christmas dinner with my mother and one of my brothers and his wife.
And Santa visited the Barbour household and was very generous.
Chase Bird sniffed out his stocking after I laid it under the tree Christmas morning—I think he smelled the catnip in the toys.
He dragged the stocking around. Then we helped him get his new toys out. He seemed pleased.
I received something in my stocking that I’ve never received before: a bag of coal. I thought I had been pretty good this year, but apparently . . . Santa thought otherwise.
Oh, well, there was plenty of candy in the stocking, too. And actually, the coal is really candy.
The ending of the Christmas holidays always leaves me feeling a bit low. But this year I’m trying to take a different perspective.
One of my mother’s younger sisters died last Saturday morning. It was not unexpected—she had been suffering from terminal cancer. But it’s always a sobering shock to hear of the death of someone who has been in your life—your whole life.
This week a person in our community who was probably known by just about everyone died. He was a good man, a public servant who served the schools and the citizens of the county for most of his life.
So how do we make sense of sorrow in the midst of the joy that we’re “supposed” to feel this time of year?
Somehow the sorrow seems to be in direct opposition to the holidays. But maybe it’s not.
The Christmas Story, whether you take it literally or figuratively, is one of love. Grace, peace, compassion—they are all there in the story.
Other religions teach love, too. As a Christian, I happen to celebrate Christmas.
For me, Christmas is a reminder of the love that we must share if life is to hold any meaning. Loving others is acting out the love of God. It’s love that we celebrate, and it’s love that comforts.
And if Christmas is a time of remembering this love, then that love should be lived out for the rest of the year.
Maybe the festivities are drawing to a close. But the love is not.