At Christmas we enjoy stories that touch our hearts. In Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” Scrooge’s shift from a man of selfishness and greed to a man of caring and generosity, brings us pleasure. Even though society is telling us that only this particular toy, and that diamond necklace and whatever else … will bring us joy, we know in our hearts that we want to be loving and giving.
As we light the fourth Advent candle of love, we see shopping bags at the grocery store filled with food for the hungry, and we smile and fill one too. We want to buy a toy for a child at the shelter. We want to tell our friends and family we love them. Oh yes, we hear those who complain about commercialism. We know there will be some who take advantage of the season’s generosity. Still, for a little while, it’s more important that the lonely, the needy, the lost, find some joy. The chains of fear, self-righteousness, or whatever, that imprison our natural generosity are broken for a little while, and we have the freedom to love.
Our Christmas story tells us that God loved us so much that God came among us as a baby. God knew that, human or animal, babies amaze us. We hold this tiny bit of life, so perfect, yet helpless and vulnerable, and for a few moments we automatically respond with love. When we light the candle of love, we know that God risked everything so that we would hear God’s message of love.
Let’s soak in that Christmas Spirit. Let’s enjoy our freedom to love as it bubbles up through our busyness and concern, not just for a few more days, but for all of 2013 as well. We aren’t limited to hearing stories of the transformation of others. We can be the story.
“On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.” (Matthew 2:11-12)