Tuesday, December 11, 2012

It's a Christmas Thing

I love Christmas. Halloween is a close second because it heralds the fall season (which is my favorite), but my absolute favorite holiday is Christmas. Well, isn’t it everyone’s favorite? No, but that’s ok. I love Christmas because of what the holiday represents. We use this holiday to celebrate Christ’s birth. I think most of us know that Jesus would most likely have been born closer to spring because that’s when the call for everyone to be taxed went out. I think I also read somewhere that the North Star, the star that guided the shepherds, would not have been visible at this time of year in ancient Bethlehem. And most of us know that Christmas wasn’t Christmas originally. It was a winter solstice/harvest festival with many pagan traditions that was threatened to be ended unless it also incorporated a celebration of the birth of Christ. Don’t quote me on this, but I’m pretty sure it’s close to what I’ve read.

I love everything about Christmas: Santa Clause, nativity scenes, lights, decorations, presents, carols, food. There’s something about the season that just seems right and peaceful. It gives you a chance to believe in magic and miracles. I even love Christmas stories like Rudolph and Frosty and Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Clause and all the stories and songs that I’ve read and sung since I was little. When I was young, I put no stock in the fact that Rudolph was bullied and that we really shouldn’t thank God that Santa is coming to town (a line from the song “Here Comes Santa Clause). Or even that when we sing “Feed the World” that we really shouldn’t thank God it’s them instead of us.

The Rudolph story strikes a different chord with me and I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to see the significance behind it. I’m not banning the Rudolph story or calling for someone to change it. I love the song. Love the story. But you have to admit it’s filled with irony. As we have evolved into a world of acceptance for all peoples from all walks of life with many variations of abilities and personalities, I find it funny that in the story Rudolph is only valued by Santa and the others once they realize his “ability” can get them out of a tight spot. In other words, when it was convenient for them, they accepted him. I helped Kellie write a fractured fairy tale some years back and you can read it on my blog. Sammy, the bionic reindeer, ran away when he was ridiculed. He came back thinking everyone had changed their mind but found out they only wanted him around to help them out. He took off and Christmas was never the same. Rudolph could have done the same thing. But then the story wouldn’t be the heartwarming story of forgiveness that it really is. It’s not about his ability to save Christmas; it’s not about the others being sorry for what they’d said. It’s about Rudolph’s heart and his willingness to forgive them. Then again, isn’t that what Christmas is really about? God forgiving us and providing a way out of our sin by sending His son? The story of the cross is the same. Jesus was ridiculed, His abilities mocked. But in the midst of His suffering He chose to forgive. That’s what made Him God’s Son.

As we head into this season of joy and peace, remember to value each and every person that you come in contact with for who they are and who God made them to be. When you view others through God’s heart you see them differently. Value each other’s abilities. Everyone is different and everyone is special because God made them exactly who they are. Don’t get caught valuing someone only because you need their ability to help you out. Value them because we are all God’s creation. Merry Christmas and have a blessed New Year.

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