|drawing by Ed Fisher, appeared in the New Yorker magazine|
But, we resist. For good reasons. We know better than to dictate feelings and emotions to others. It does not work. And, besides, some people find it hard to be merry all of the time during this time of the year. Memories are strong, right now, and those memories take us back to when loved ones were still with us and things were different. The holidays can be difficult. We would be remiss not to respect that truth. I believe we must be ever vigilant to reach out to those who hurt and extend our care and compassion, especially now.
Beyond our respect for the feelings and context of others, I read into this cartoon another element of modern celebrating that had little place in the original Christmas story: the sense of awe. Stories of the first Christmas, from Matthew and Luke, are both filled with moments of surprise and wonder. There were angels making startling announcements to both Mary and Joseph. Elizabeth and Zechariah get the surprise of the their lives, when told they have have a son named John. An angelic chorus directs shepherds to cave used as a stable, of all places, to find a child just born. All the while, we're told God's plan to redeem all of the world is being put on full display. The first Christmas was anything but rote.
In the midst of all of the emotions and busyness of the season, may we move at our own pace toward the scene being played out before us. May we gaze with awe at how the God of the Universe is choosing to reveal himself to us this year. Grace and Peace to you.