Column: Something About Nothing, by Julie Seedorf
“Are you ready for Christmas?”
That question seems to be something that I ask frequently. Of course people respond with shopping stories, Santa stories and family get together stories. I do the same thing. As I was contemplating writing this column for the week of Christmas I reviewed the conversations I have had with people throughout the week including my grandchildren. Then it hit me. All my conversations have been about the materialistic things of Christmas.
I must admit I am not hustling and bustling this Christmas. I have decorated my house. I have put up my tree, taken down my tree because of the cats and put up a smaller tree. I have listened to Christmas music on the radio and I feel the excitement of the coming week. I have to finish my crafty projects and gifts. I have a little shopping to do for my grandchildren but they are easy things. I am in the midst of working on Christmas cards and maybe by the time you read this some of them might be in the mail. I am not my usual hyper Christmas self. I am enjoying the season because of it. The commercial part of my Christmas is almost ready.
But am I ready for Christmas? I don’t think I have contemplated the right reason we celebrate this holiday. So, no, I am not ready for Christmas.
Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus on Dec. 25. We may go to church before that day to prepare for the actual day. Or not. We may read “The Christmas Story” to our children and grandchildren. Or not. We may take the time to sit in silence and remember that night so long ago that leads to more Christian Holidays, Good Friday and Easter that happen in our spring. Or not. We may take the time to realize the roots of the tradition that we call Christmas. Or not.
Somewhere, somehow, we spend more time thinking about what we are going to buy someone for Christmas, what we are going to eat and how we are going to spend the holiday than we do thinking and feeling about the story that has been told to us through the ages, the birth of Christ. This tiny baby has gotten lost in the tinsel and the wrapping paper and the ribbon.
We may take the time to go to Christmas Eve services and if they run long we are impatient because there is more fun waiting for us at home. Many churches don’t have Christmas Day services anymore because attendance was so low. Could it be dinner preparations were more important?
Most stores are still closed on Christmas, unlike Thanksgiving, but I imagine that trend will change with time when that tiny baby born in a manger is forgotten some more. No, I have not taken the time to get ready for the birth of Christ and if I think about Christmas in that way, then I am not ready for Christmas.
Perhaps there are ways we can be ready in the midst of the tinsel and tree lights. We can look into the face of a tiny child and see the goodness and beauty in them. We can look into the face of a person we normally would not take the time to greet and see the hunger for acceptance in their face. We can take the time each day to find that tiny baby in the people we meet. We can drop a few coins in the Salvation Army kettle. We can look around us and be grateful for the freedom of religion. We can reach out our hearts and touch someone that isn’t seeing the joy of the season that we see in the lights and the music and the merriment of food and family.
I enjoy the sights and sounds and fun of Christmas. My Christmas wish for you, is for moments in the midst of the merriment to remember the reason for the season and to feel the peace and the joy that those moments may bring.
Some of my readers added a few Christmas wishes too:
“My Christmas wish is for peace in the world and safe return home for our troops.” — Mary Stenzel
“My wish would be for tickets home for Christmas. We would love to be with family for the holidays and haven’t seen snow since 2010!” — Alissa Bruss Ellingson, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
“My wish this year is that my many family members who are suffering illness, shall all improve, and hopefully we will have some healing and cures.” — Gina Nelson
“My one wish is our family all get together and enjoy each other’s company.” — Cecile Schnebly
And I will end with this quotation from Sunday school lesson book author Roy L. Smith:
“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.”