As I look at the angels on this tree, I imagine at least one of them playing a harmonica. And it got me to wonder, what if Jesus wrote a Christmas letter. What would he say? I imagine it would be something like this:
“Merry Christmas friends and family. I wanted to take this opportunity like I do every year to give thanks to you for being a part of my life. I’m still so happy that people remember my birthday after all these years. I’m also glad you remember each other. If I had a small part to do with that, then that’s all the better.
I’m encouraged to see how people are taking my words seriously these days. After so many years of people misusing my words for their own personal agenda, I’m glad to see people looking at the disparity between rich and poor, the responsibility we all have for preserving the precious resources this world, and the fact that I welcomed everyone to the table. I’m glad people are starting to take this seriously.
I wish there were more peace on earth and good will toward people. I hear you singing about it and I so wish it were true in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, even some of the urban centers around the world. I would never condone war and those who use my name to justify it are wrong. Allah, God, Jehovah, me: we’re all against war and it breaks our hearts when wars are fought in our name.
Speaking of the different names of God, I don’t care if you say Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, or Salaam Aleikum, or Happy Holidays or Seasons Greetings. To each their own. If it makes you more caring to say a generic greeting than by all means be more caring. I have to shake my head when people talk about the “war on Christmas” as if it were a war on words.
Truth be told, the real war on Christmas is materialism. We have somehow twisted my lowly birth in a cattle barn to a celebration of consumerism. I worry that this causes more stress, more heartache, more debt than we really need. If you really want to celebrate and honor my birthday, remember that I came into the world as a nobody. I was easily ignored, like most people. Remember the ones who are ignored. Give them light and love and hope. That is the best of Christmas gifts.
Find someone who needs a friend—who’s especially alone this Christmas. Give them a call. Remember that you don’t know who is alone or lonely or worried. So be nice to everyone. Everyone needs it.
Remember that people are stressed out. Don’t add to the stress. Do what you can to relieve the stress. Be light and thankful.
Find someone that you have hurt and try to make amends.
Bring to mind someone who has hurt you. Forgive them.
Remember that snow is a gift. It relieves our drought. Farmers will be happy in the spring. Remember that it’s a blanket for bulbs. Make a snow angel. Let the snow dance on your tongue and remember that this is a part of the cycle of life. And remember this when you’re complaining about the heat in July.
Please drive safely. Be considerate with the people at the airline counters. They don’t make the policy. A little patience goes a long way.
Give people gifts that truly need them. I am so happy that your church gave so many gifts to people you didn’t even know during the season of Advent. My heart gets all warm when I see people giving to strangers. It means you’re taking my words seriously. You’re taking your life seriously.
When you pray at Christmas dinner, remember those less fortunate. Pray for those you don’t know, for those in special need known only to me. I’ll take care of it on my end. Your job is to remember. Remember and commit yourself to making the world a bit better because of your presence. If you do that, then I will have been born again. What a great birthday present.
But most of all, honor Christmas by telling the story. Sing some carols with some people that you love. Embrace wonder. Celebrate the holiness that is as close as your breath. Light a candle in the dark. Remind yourself and another that darkness is not the last word. Remind people and yourself that a light shines as bright as it did over 2000 years ago. May it shine brighter because it is in all of your hearts. Who knows, wise ones may recognize that light in you like they did in me.
Finally, love one another, friends. I’m glad I get to spend another Christmas with you. I do so because I love you.
PS. I hope we’ll talk more this year. I’ll try to keep in touch if you will.”