all throughout the Christmas season we hear some people grumble “remember the reason for the season, remember the reason for the season”, because they are concerned that all the lights and glitter, the trees and gifts, and especially santa claus, will distract us from the reason for the season. now their concern is not without merit, we do become distracted, yet the truth is that the root of that distraction is not to be found in the lights or trees or even santa claus. the truth is all these things that seem to distract us from the reason for the season are simply reminders of the true reason for the season.
so if they are reminders then how is it they distract us? the truth is that they, in and of themselves, don’t distract us. all of these holiday traditions (regardless of their origin) serve us as reminders of the great event of God coming to be with us as one of us. look at the Christmas tree, its an evergreen - yes? why do we use an evergreen and not an oak or maple? because the pine tree is a reminder of Christ, who is evergreen, and a reminder of the eternal life He gives us; the evergreen is always present to us in its living greenness just as Christ is always present to us. so look at the tree and see it as it really is, and then you will see Christ! and what of the lights that decorate the tree, are they simply meant to be pretty distractions from the truth, or do they remind us that He is the Light of the world, and all the little lights speak to us of our little lights that shine in unity with Him.
and the gifts we give to one another are reminders of the Great Gift God have given us in Jesus Christ. we can lose sight of that fact easily if we allow selfishness and greed to rule our hearts. But whose fault is that, the gifts or our hearts? What are we teaching our children about the act of giving when all the importance is placed on the pleasure of receiving things they want, above the joy found in sharing of ourselves that is the reciprocity of giving and receiving? this joy is a reflection of the joy God has in giving Himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ, through whom we are received back into the fullness of God’s life. perceive the truth – that to give is to receive, and to receive is to give.
and what of santa, who of all the things that we grumble over we grumble most about him. we blame him for distracting us from the reason for the season. but my friends, who does santa represent? does he not speak to us of the kindly Father, who loves the world so much, that despite snow or storm comes to us and gives us the gift we are most in need of? that is the grace and truth of Jesus Christ.
in truth none of these things blind us to the reason for the season, what blinds us is ourselves, and our poverty of spirit that causes us not to see the reminders that are before us. all the things around us are reminders of God with us: the tree, the gifts, the special foods, the lights, and yes even santa, none of these takes us away from Christ, all of these serve to point us towards Christ.
yet we become distracted, become obsessed so to speak, with the reminders and fail to see what they are pointing us too. the fault lies not in the tree or gifts or even santa, the fault lies within ourselves, and this is even more the reason why we so desperately need Christ, through whom we are enabled to engage life as it really is, not just as it is meant to be, but as it really is right now. Christ is the lens, the eyeglasses so to speak, that we need to see what is really before us. all things speak to us of God, all things point us to God, each one of us is a living representation of God – what do you think the book of genesis is saying when it refers to us as “the image of God”, what do you think Jesus was talking about when he said “whatever you do to the least of these you do to me” – he is saying to us “OPEN YOUR EYES and SEE ME as I REALLY AM, see Me in all that I have created, see Me in each other, and yes even see Me within yourself".
for within us lay the seed of the kingdom of God, when Christ is born in our hearts then the living reality of the saving work of God is born within us. the inner transformation we all crave, we all need, so that love and liberty, that is the grace and truth of God, may reign within us and through us the kingdom of God unfolds - becoming a living reality in our world; not through us in our selfish blindness, but through us as we live IN Christ. to the degree we allow Christ to be the lens by which we see the world – we will be able to perceive the true reality of all things.
Jesus tells us in john’s gospel “I will draw all things to Me”, all things are drawn to Christ because all things came from Christ – “for all things came into being through Him and not one thing came into being apart from Him”. do you see here what is meant by the reciprocity of giving and receiving? He who created our hearts has come to re-create us into the fullness of the image of God.
so let us not blame things for distracting us from the truth of Christ, but let us honestly recognize that we are the cause of our distractions, for only then can we be like mary and say to God “let it be with me as according to your Word”. for it is by and through the Word, which is the Light of all people, we are born again, and able to joyfully proclaim with Isaiah “arise, shine, for thy Light has come, and the glory of the Lord is upon us.” Amen.
©2010 halley low