Paul believes in the Christmas Spirit, and al the cheer and joy that comes with it. It truly is a wonderful time of the year, .
Not too many years ago, I had a job making deliveries for a small printing company, and I remember one Christmas season when I was required to bring a good deal of last-minute holiday greeting cards to some businesses in the area. Christmas time was near, and, as some would say, it was in the air, and I found myself voicing numerous greetings of the season to those who I met at their places of business and to others that I passed on the street. I did not know the religious preferences of those I encountered, so my go to phrase was "Have a nice holiday." These greetings were kindly returned to me. Some would wish me a happy holiday or a Merry Christmas before I even had a chance to speak, greetings that I enthusiastically returned. These were nice, crisp, early winter days and I was beginning to feel the cheer that is present during this special time of year, and I could not help but to share those feelings with the people I met.
As Christmas day drew near, I continued my happy holiday well wishes and was myself on the receiving end of many. There may have been times when someone would say "Merry Christmas" in a way that suggested to me that they would prefer that it was the only appropriate greeting of the season, and I understand the sentiment, it being Christmastime and it being about keeping Christ in Christmas, but I also understand that there may be people with whom I come in contact who might celebrate the season differently, and I just want to wish them well. I believe that it is in the spirit of Christmas and my faith that I voice my greetings.
I always try to use the right words when I address others, but the feelings behind these words are equally important. I may wish to wish one a good holiday, a merry Christmas, a happy new year, or just a plain good old day. And I trust that if my feelings are sincere so too will be my words. I believe that simple greetings like these when spoken in kind and cheerful ways can make a positive difference in someone's day, and I also trust that others who feel the enthusiasm behind these words will pass it on with well wishes of their own.
This exchange of greetings is nothing less than an exchange of blessings. We salute each other, whether in a word, a smile, a nod of the head, or a wave of the hand. And I believe this exchange of blessings can have a calming effect during this busy and often hectic time of the year, bringing a little peace to the moment, bringing us all a little closer together, helping us all to feel that good old holiday spirit, the spirit which contains the awareness of the presence of God's love throughout the world. It is with this enthusiasm that I say both happy holidays and merry Christmas.
It is during the Christmas season when we are reminded of just how much God loves the world, the world that contains peoples of numerous faiths and cultures, people who observe diverse traditions and celebrations during this holy season. This diversity contributes to the multi-faceted wonderfulness of the season. And within this diversity there is an underlying oneness, the oneness of humanity and of our fundamental nature as beings of God. It is also during the Christmas season when we are reminded of how God's love has been shown to us in the world.
This is the season when we celebrate the birth of the Christ child. He is the one who forgives, the one who heals. He tells us to forgive others, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. We love ourselves by believing in our ability to do good in the world, trusting in Christ to guide us, being driven by His love. We love our neighbors by seeing the good in them, having compassion concerning their struggles, just as we would for our own, wishing them peace and health. It is seeing God's love in them, the love that, through Christmas, is alive as Christ's peace.
During this time of year, a recurring theme is the idea of peace, as in peace on Earth, goodwill toward all. But peace on Earth does not happen by itself. It begins in keeping the peace that is of Christ in our hearts, then it proceeds through the ways in which we behave towards ourselves and those who are close, continuing in the ways we behave towards all who we meet. And if our ways are in the ways of love, peace will work its way outward. With kind and caring thoughts and actions, we continue the flow. A little thing as being kind and forgiving with those with whom we live, work, and otherwise chance to interact, can go a long toward this end, this end being a beginning, a beginning, perhaps, of a more peaceable world, thoughts of which bring us joy.
At Christmas, we celebrate in joyous ways. We celebrate brightly. We may light candles, or display colorful lights, lights that are reflected by shiny baubles or tinsel. And we may notice the often-important role that light plays in the holiday observances of others as well. We also remember to keep the light of the Christmas star shining in our nativity displays. What we are celebrating is the light of God's love and the light of Christ's peace, and the continuing presence of this light and love in our lives. We keep Christ in Christmas by keeping this love and light with us, while at the same time letting it shine. We can celebrate Christmas quietly as well. As busy as this season can be, there is always time to slow, time to employ a different kind of reflection, contemplating the love and the light, and time for prayer, taking it all in, then letting it out as cheer and joy.
Christmas day is drawing near, and I still enjoy wishing well whenever I can. And I believe that we all keep Christ in Christmas whenever we utter any kind word during Christmas time, as we continue to keep Christ in our hearts and minds throughout the year, allowing His peace to be with us at all times, and seeing this peace in all people, and at work throughout this good old world. Christmas comes but once a year, but every day is a day of Christ's peace, the peace that is sustained by love, and thus prevails.
© 2021 Paul K Francis