I wonder . . . what Christmas do you remember?
No, no, no â€“ Iâ€™m not talking about when you were a kid and there was that special toy or the year you were ten and skated in New Yorkâ€™s Rockefeller Center and the night was magical or when you surprised â€œSantaâ€ near the tree as he (er, your father, brother, uncle) munched on the peanut butter cookies you left while putting a pony under the tree.
No childhood memories, please.
Be a card-carrying adult about it, long past the so-called magic time. After cynicism and weariness arrived . . . and enthusiasm and innocence left the building a decade or more ago. And yet, you still felt Christmas’ deepest meanings…
This is one for me . . . as I started working at my last church, I was leaving a job as a hospice chaplain. The congregation had an early and late Christmas Eve service. But I promised one hospice patient Iâ€™d visit her that night . . . and so I drove to her home between the two celebrations. Joy to the World echoed for me. Laughter still resonated from a Christmas Eve childrenâ€™s sermon. And there was the exhaustion of the season. However, for a few moments, with a mother who was dying and a daughter who cared for her, I sat in a quiet dark house. We prayed. We swapped long ago family memories. I became, in the season of wonderment, I silent holder of hands and whisperer of Godâ€™s forever good news. Unto us a child is born, but there is still dying and death. And, with dying and death, there is still a silent night, a holy night, a time and place of embracing others.
Iâ€™ll always remember that night. And what of you . . .?