By Douglas Heizer
We wish you a Merry Christmas, a very, very Merry Christmas. I want to extend warm wishes to everyone for a Merry Christmas. And to those observing Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or celebrations specific to other faiths, I hope you also enjoy your special time.
Let’s talk about Christmas for a moment. Like the song says, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” and that holds true regardless of the circumstances. It’s fantastic when a year is prosperous, and everyone has some cash jingling in their pockets when the holiday season arrives. However, this year, as in the past few years, many people don’t have much money to pay the bills and buy presents.
Sometimes, we must shift our focus from the present to the traditional. We need to reflect on the Miracle in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago. Even if you don’t believe that Jesus Christ was the Messiah, we can acknowledge that he was a man with a very special message, gifted with a charisma that reached all parts of the world and whose memory is memorialized by millions.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, could have come to this world with royal robes and flights of angels, but he didn’t. He arrived the same way you and I did – as a baby nurtured in the womb and born into the world. Yet, his birth was on a day that would be celebrated for all times.
Regardless of one’s perception of Jesus, he did not come with grandeur. Born in a manger where horses and cattle feed, there was nothing spectacular about his arrival – much like the unremarkable aspects of many lives this past year or in the past few years.
Jesus was never materially rich. His family was poor, and he earned a living as his father, Joseph, did – as a carpenter. As he grew, he went to the Temple and taught lessons. Yes, Jesus was also a teacher. In today’s world, carpenters and teachers may not receive substantial pay, but their work is vital as it provides shelter and education, crucial aspects of our lives.
In life, Jesus never ruled as the Son of God. If anything, he rejected the regal world for that of his Father in Heaven, where we all aspire to dwell someday. He taught us how to do it and expressed his love for us – imperfect as we humans are. We are sinners, but he forgives. Even as he died on the cross, he forgave us.
To this day, he hears the cries of the poor and the wails of the homeless. While some may feel Jesus doesn’t treat us all fairly, this isn’t the case. We are the ones who must work for a living, pursue happiness (which is not guaranteed), and learn life’s lessons, sometimes difficult to fathom but necessary.
Now is not the time for depression; it’s a time to celebrate. To adorn colorful wreaths and ornaments, share the spirit of the season. It costs nothing to share goodwill with others. We’ve witnessed how those with more material things help those with less by donating food and toys. There is a special feeling in simply walking down the street and saying “Hi” to people we don’t even know.
It’s the spirit that’s important, not materialism. At this time of year, we must abandon sadness for a happier demeanor, keeping the good mood and the faith of better days into the future as we wish all of you a very Merry Christmas.
Originally Published on December 28, 2011 – Edition 79