I grew up in a small mid-western community. Most of the people I knew were either employed in local factories or in farming. My dad was a schoolteacher and my mother stayed home working hard for her husband and her four children. As a young child I was always the first one on up on Christmas day. I remember one year, my dad in an effort to get a little more sleep required that we be dressed before we opened gifts. No problem, I just put my pajamas on over my clothes.
I must confess that my excitement over Christmas died a long time ago. As I grew into a teenager, a young man, a father, and now a grandfather of four little ones, I have become saddened over what Christmas has become. I have said that Christmas is the only birthday party I know where the attendees exchange gifts with each other and ignore the guest of honor!
As I look back on those early years of my youth, I can remember very few of my gifts, but I never fail to remember one Christmas tradition. We would go caroling to the shut-ins that were no longer able to come to church. Just as the Christ child was born in a manger and the angel appeared to shepherds, I like the fact that we didn’t carol at the house of the mayor or the chief of police, although it would have been fine to do so. Instead, we caroled to those that society then and now overlook.
Most of us would probably agree that something a bit sad has happened to Christmas. We could come up with a long list of where we went wrong. Instead, I would like to offer something a bit different – perhaps even a bit radical. Maybe the true meaning of Christmas would regain its rightful place in our hearts and minds if we at least thought of Christmas as “merry” because God’s son was born to virgin name Mary. May your Christmas be a Merry, “Mary” Christmas as you celebrate the birth of the Christ child!
Elder Source Senior Ministries