Friday, December 28, 2007
Merry Christmas. I still feel somewhat ecstatic every time I say that, so I apologize if it's gotten on your nerves by now. The festivities have mostly wound down, though I still have one family Christmas party and whatever I end up doing for New Year's coming up, which admittedly may be nothing. Lindsey and I managed to attend both of our families' parties and visit with siblings and friends in from out of town over the past few days. I'm extremely grateful that our families live only a short distance apart, and that we didn't have to choose between either seeing my family or hers. I received some fun gifts, I think none that I shan't enjoy using greatly. I had no figgy pudding whatsoever, and I still have no idea what it's like, but there were ample cups of good cheer enjoyed, to say nothing of the other assorted goodies with which I've been fattening myself for the slaughter of late. I couldn't help but think, when Christmas day was upon us, that I wasn't ready. I had the superficial things out of the way, I thought, but notwithstanding that we celebrate it every year, the coming of the Savior among us seems significant enough to me that the celebration of such an event should involve a great deal more spiritual reflection than I've ever put into it. Still, when I awoke shortly after the sun on Christmas morning, no longer because of the anticipation of new toys and good food, but because of that nefarious device which I daily inflict upon myself for that express purpose, I was struck with a remarkable feeling of joy. I didn't feel that the world was suddenly peaceful, or that my life would suddenly sort out all of its own problems, nor did I feel as if the spirit of Christmas had somehow transformed me into a better version of myself. What struck me, I think, was the realization that behind the silly lights and gifts and slightly less silly talk and songs about peace on earth and goodwill towards men, we have a very real reason to be filled with unimaginable joy in the person of Jesus. It suddenly felt to me as if all of the silly things were not just some tradition which we drag out every year for lack of anything better to do when the weather gets cold, they are our imperfect attempts at celebrating something truly beyond our imagination in its greatness. I simultaneously felt sad for all of the people (often including myself) who wish our grocery store cashiers Merry Christmas and buy gifts for our loved ones just for the sake of doing so. I know I'm not saying anything worth reading here, but sometimes I have to step back and remember that for all of my skepticism about this or that insignificant thing, I truly believe not only that the most spectacular miracle imaginable could happen, but that it has. Merry Christmas!