There is a globe showing the world hanging on my travel Christmas tree. I placed it near the top as I was decorating without paying much attention to what part of the planet earth was showing on the round orb. As I gaze at it now I clearly see that it is focused on the Middle East, the part of the world where Jesus of Nazareth was born. Just to the left on the secretary that once belonged to my mother-in-law is a delicate porcelain rendering of the birth that so changed the world more than two thousand years ago. My mother gave me the lovely Nativity scene as a gift one Christmas and each year I place it in the room where I write my blogs. It reminds me of the real magic of the holiday season which was always present in the love that both my mother and my mother-n-law gave so freely during their lifetimes. They have been gone for many Christmases now but somehow I always feel their spirits as though they are still celebrating with me and teaching me what it means to be good and decent.
I believe that each of us is not just what we believe but what we do. From that little baby whose birth and life we celebrate each Christmas Day and those two women who were devoted to the ideals that he taught, I learned how I should act each day, even when things are difficult. More than anything my role models gave me a rubric for living by which I try to gauge my success in treating the people around me with dignity and respect. There set high expectations for me that I have not always been able to meet, but I nonetheless use the measure of their lives to assess my own.
What I have learned is that love is at the center of this day and all days above all. Love is kind and patient and generous and forgiving. The best present that we can give anyone is the gift of ourselves. It takes no money and little effort to spread compassion and understanding and genuine concern to everyone we encounter in every interaction of every single day. We can delight in the glory of life itself wherever we might be and whatever our circumstances are. So even if we are alone on this Christmas Day of 2020, it is a time for pausing from our cares and our woes to rejoice in the hope that this celebration was meant to represent.
For most of us there will be no rushing about this year. We have time to pause and think about how we are doing in our individual roles of bringing peace on earth. We have an opportunity to move slowly and deliberately through the day asking ourselves what Jesus would be like if he were being born again in the world of today. Where would he live? What would be his circumstances? Might his family be refugees or illegal immigrants confined to a camp or living homeless under a bridge? Would his mother and father be worried about being evicted from their home in the time of Covid-19? Would we see them and help them in their plight or would we simply ignore them and maybe even disdain them?
Jesus taught us to look beyond our own wants and needs and to see the goodness and humanity even in those that we do not understand. On this Christmas Day of 2020, may we all begin again to make joy and love the center of our lives. May we spend good cheer from one end of the globe to the other. May we realize that Jesus came for each of us in Christmases past, present and future in every part of the globe. May we resolve to be the change that we so desire from others and may God bless us all, everyone.