The rituals of Christmas focus our minds away from the chaos and clutter this season sometimes brings. The traditions allow us to tune into details often overlooked or taken for granted. Christmas is Live-Action Stewardship. It is a celebration of Christ’s birth. It is also a reminder of the power of unselfish love and giving – an act of stewardship. Each time we share a gift with a friend or stranger, we show an example of this stewardship.
It is easy to thank someone for giving us a gift. The words flow effortlessly from our mouths and our souls swell with the warmth felt by the thoughtfulness of the gift giver. Christmas spirit is the positive effect created by the action of giving. We were designed to give. When we give, our whole body benefits from the giving and takes on a glow. Look in the eyes of the person who gives you a gift next time and you will see the sparkle from that glow.
The greatest gift given to us by God was delivered in a tiny baby, born in a lowly manger in front of mangey animals that no doubt stunk. The greatest gift given by God was rejected before he was born – a rejection that permeated his life until his death. Yet even in that rejection, hope lived on and hope spread to others bringing joy, peace, comfort, and healing. Even in that rejection, goodness lived on and goodness spread to others bringing joy, peace, comfort, and healing.
The example Christ left behind for Christians to follow is to go against the grain of society and cultural norms in order to respond in Christianly love to others. We cannot let the fear of being unpopular prevent us from interacting with those who look, think, live, or act differently from us or we risk losing out on an opportunity to spread joy, peace, comfort, and healing.
This Christmas, reflect on the Stewardship of God’s greatest gift to the world. When you see a wreath, ponder the circular nature of the life of Christ. When you look at a candle flame, consider the light this one life brought to a world lost in darkness. When you see the delicate lace of the Chrismons and other ornaments on a Christmas tree think of that delicate fragile skin of the just born baby against the unyielding harshness of the hay. When you hear the bells of Christmas Day, their old familiar carols play, though wild and sweet their words repeat, “Peace on Earth, Good-will to Men”, reflect on the life of Christ and challenge yourself to do better each day– to be the disciples who reflect Christ’s ministry.