Merry Christmas to all

The season of Christmas has again descended on the world. Everyone’s pace steps up big time with a flurry of activities, holiday parties and loads of fun events to check out.

Shoppers hit the malls and although there is a sense of weariness amongst many, there is a healthy dose of Christmas spirit to go around as well.

As busy as it is, many folks promise themselves that next year will be different. They talk about simplifying things and of finding time to reflect on the joys and blessings of life during the Christmas season – family, friends, good health and the country we call home.

Then there are those turned off by all that Christmas has to offer. Maybe the season brings back painful memories. Or maybe they’re caught in economic hardship, which the holiday season makes worse as they try to keep up with the spending frenzy others are caught up in.

Thankfully, charities go into overdrive with efforts to ensure a brighter holiday for families in need. And ultimately, those who have their attention focused primarily on others are the people who have insight into the meaning and joys of Christmas.

And speaking of the meanings of Christmas, the birth of Christ continues to inspire everything from lively theological discourse to personal faith.

Even Charlie Brown is revitalized by the story in the classic A Charlie Brown Christmas. The special first aired in 1965 and has remained a holiday staple ever since. Charlie agrees to direct a Christmas by the local kids, but they’re more interested in goofing around. He at first sinks into a funk about the whole thing, and wonders what Christmas really means.

Linus walks to centre stage to quote the second chapter of the Gospel of Luke, verses eight through 14 which detail the birth of Christ. Everyone is struck by a poignant and powerful sense of wonder at the words. There is peace amongst the group and all is well.

As author Philip Yancey points out in his book The Jesus I Never Knew, the humble event “That divided history, and even our calendars, into two parts had more animals than human witnesses. For an instant, the sky grew luminous with angels. Yet, who saw that spectacle? Illiterate hirelings who watched the flocks of other `nobodies` who failed to leave their names. “Shepherds had a randy reputation and other Jews lumped them together with the ‘godless’. Fittingly, it was they who God selected to help celebrate the birth of one who would be known as the friend of sinners.”

May the heart and soul of Christmas rest with all of us this season and always. Have a truly blessed and Merry Christmas.

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