We’re getting close now. As I wind up my shopping and my preparations for Christmas parties and celebrations, I start to forget about the secularity and downright crassness of what I’ve been encountering at the mall and on television. I begin to focus on what’s important, my relationships with my family and friends. The miracle of the birth of Jesus starts to feel real about the 22nd of December. To me, the birth of a baby is a symbol of the renewing power of life’s cycles. Jesus’ birth serves as a reflector for Christians of the smaller miracles that happen every day all around us.
Today I feel blessed by a couple of other babies. My niece gave birth to her second child on Monday. There was plenty of room for their little family in the hospital. She wrapped him in a fleece onesie and brought him home in their car to a warm house where her mother and sister waited, ready to assist her and her husband with infant care. He’s not the Messiah, but he’s a flesh-and-blood miracle whose December 20 birthday will forever be linked to Christmas. Given the pain and sadness our family has experienced over the last couple of years with the death of my father and the ongoing decline of my mother, little David is a message to us that life does go on.
And then there’s little Clare. Born in the midst of her young mother’s heart problems, she’s a healthy, happy little three-month-old charmer surrounded by a flock of adoring parents, grandparents, uncles, and aunts. She’s turned her grandmother, a highly erudite college professor, into a cooing slave to her every need, and that’s how it should be. Seeing Clare lying in her “transportation system” cradle entranced by the lights of the Christmas tree spoke to me in ways that Christmas shopping mania will never do.
I believe that Christmas brings us face to face with our personal miracles. Let’s celebrate all the reasons for the season rather than focusing on the pagan beginnings of Christmas or our secular traditions. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go finish my Christmas cards…