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Christmas a time of awe and wonder

Christmas a time of awe and wonder Christmas a time of awe and wonder

This is a time of awe and wonder. It is Christmas, not just here, but all over the world. The mystery of this event is beyond my human brain and heart to comprehend. We probably all carry within us different expectations and hopes for the happenings of this Christmastime. It all depends on the images we carry of the past and where we are standing in life today.

Some of us see it as a time to entertain friends and family and focus on cooking and gift giving. Others wait prayerfully for an inner spiritual growth. Most businesses, organizations and social groups have parties to mark the special time of the year. And then, there is always shopping, shopping, shopping.

There are many different components of this wonderful celebration.

What is the core meaning of Christmas for you? What takes over the priority of everything else for you? Whatever it is, mixed with the heightened awareness of a higher power in our lives, will determine what kind of a Christmas we each experience.

Christmas Eve is a time of waiting, wondering and expectancy. Something very special is about to happen. We look for a Christmas miracle where we want it most.

I remember years ago when two men of the area spent weeks arguing via the newspaper as to whether Santa Claus was a good concept at Christmas or a perversion of the holy script. The newspapers flew off the shelves during that time as weekly readers weighed the pros and cons of the discussion.

Aren’t we all still trying to figure out what Christmas means to each of us?

We often think of our part of the planet as primarily the home of many Christians. But, if we really looked at statistics, we would be surprised at the variety of religious beliefs held by our neighbors. No matter the title on the door of their house of worship, most groups of faith believe in a Supreme Being. We look to a higher power for guidance and purpose in life. It is common among people to observe a religious holiday that centers on hope amidst a dormant period in the cycle of the seasons.

The traditional nativity story for most Christians is that of Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem to pay taxes. We sing carols about the angel, shepherds and wise men who joined them at the birth of their baby, and we celebrate the star that lead them all to worship the baby Jesus. A pretty happy and spectacular story. But, don’t forget that most traveled by foot for miles. Even though Mary may have ridden a donkey, she was far along in her pregnancy and must have been miserable.

This divine intervention happened right in the middle of everyday worries and discomforts: taxes, a pregnancy, a strange place and no hotel reservations. And don’t forget, the narrative states that Mary was very young and not yet married.

Here, to me, is the core of the nativity story. A loving power that I can’t comprehend enters our lives as we go about the good and bad tasks of human life. We still have trials and tribulations, but they take on a more positive meaning when we approach them with faith in a loving and absolute God. Not a God that remains in the glow of a splendid holiday experience, but One who is with us all the time if we open ourselves up to feel His presence.

Don’t ask me how all this works. It is beyond me that God can be ever present in the whole cosmos at the same time. Not even Santa Claus claims his travel capacity is that extensive.

You and I may have different views of what God is. Perhaps we call God by different names and celebrate with a variety of rituals and written beliefs. But, I, for one, have had experiences that tell me that something beyond my own self has entered my life at times and given me new strengths and guidance. I would state my case that this is God.

When faced with normally overwhelming troubles, a force beyond me enfolds me with love and hope. Being aware of my inadequacies in a tough time, I realize that something greater than myself is operating within me and carrying me forward. This is the message of Christmas for me.

To those of you who are ill, lonesome, let down or at your wits end, I wish for you a miracle with joy that tells you only the presence of the Supreme Being could create such hope in such a dark hour.  I believe in a God who makes you want to dance when you were otherwise down.

May I offer this advice? Keep your antennas up and your spirit and mind open to see if you can feel the same Divine presence that came that first Christmas Eve. May we all feel the hope of the angels who sang “Peace on earth. Good will toward men.”