As I address you from my stuffy summer bedroom, the thought of Christmas has only dawned on me this week. Yes, I have been besieged by the many adverts carrying holiday discounts, the snow white beard of Santa Claus and ornamented trees with flickering lights since late November, but the seriousness of the ‘Christmas rush’ has yet to take hold of me as it may have many of you.
One reason is that I’m in a state of advent, or waiting patiently for the day of my saviour Jesus Christ’s birth. I’ve been reflecting on what his birth means to me, 2012 as a whole and thinking about my goals for my final school year.
If there is one thing I’ve realized, it’s that with consumer and materialism Christmas has become less about giving and more about spending and receiving nowadays. We must realize that it’s a day not about us, but Him. We can show how much we appreciate Christ leaving his throne in Heaven to become one of us by displaying servitude and giving to others.
The other reason has inevitably be triggered by tragedy. The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting has left a deep scar on me just like it must have had on many of you. I will leave politics and gun control for another post as I focus on the main thing this madness has taught me, which is to be thankful for everything I have. When you think of twenty parents that will have to spend Christmas one family member short puts life into perspective and makes us enjoy what we have even more.
This poem not only captures the spirit of Christmas but also the need to think of others more than ourselves:
The night before Christmas
In vagabond threads I await
the new snow of day.
The gentle glow of a city-center Christmas
tree is my night-light, my comfort against
the algid breeze.
The carols of a distant church’s Christmas Eve Mass
make me tap a light holiday tune upon the pavement.
My gifts are some cold coins and crumpled
notes, wrapped in a plastic fast food box. Christmas
dinner lies in snowed-over garbage cans nearby.
From a spirit-filled office party, a man jovially exits.
He stumbles with a beer into his car and zigzags away.
A police car halts before me and its front window opens.
An officer hands me a large bag.
‘‘Merry Christmas.’’ She smiles and drives away.
I find inside a black coat, scarf and beanie. I salute the
cop car and contentedly await the new snow of day.
P.S. I’ve written on a part of the Nativity story on a separate blog. It can be read under Day Sixteen: Unknown heroes of the Nativity, by Jonathan Rowe here: http://www.advent2012waitingwell.wordpress.com/.