Despite the miserable cold, snow, and ice many of us experience in the northern hemisphere in December we who celebrate the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day are filled with the warmest of feelings. This annual reminder of the Messiah's arrival, His purpose in our lives and the importance of our faith offers us hope in a world when things often seem to be going awry.
In other words, Christmas fills us with inspiration.
People of other faiths may even be caught up in the excitement of this Christian holiday even though their religious beliefs are different. At least this is possible in the United States where Christmas is a VERY big deal since most of the population is Christian. Even government offices close for this important religious holiday.
Not only do we Christians get caught up in religious Advent and Christmas activities, we also dearly enjoy the secular celebration of Christmas. Trees decorated in red, white and gold scent our living rooms, wreaths hang on our door, and all of us with small children in our lives eagerly await the arrival of Santa Claus.
"It's a Wonderful Life," "White Christmas," and little Ralphie's "Christmas Story" vie for playing time on our televisions with National Lampoon's "Christmas Vacation" and the Maureen O'Hara version of "Miracle on 34th Street."
Those of us who live in large cities may take in the local ballet's performance of "The Nutcracker." The rest of us hope to see a church's or college's production of Handel's "Messiah" or "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever."
If we aren't put off by bad weather, we'll attend local Christmas lighting festivities, our town's parade or we'll go caroling with friends.
Hot chocolate, peppermint, apples and cinnamon, fresh-baked pumpkin pies, colorful cookies, the scent of gingerbread, laughter, smiles, hugs, bright-eyed children, rosy cheeks, snow or sunshine--the baby Jesus--whatever fills your house and your heart during the Christmas season, God bless you with a joyous, healthy and safe holiday.
Fran Shaff, Award-Winning Author