christmas day has just passed, and we continue in the season of christmas. we have sung the familiar words about shepherds and angels, about wise men, about a young man and woman traveling with a host of others to the village of bethlehem, of the birth of a baby in a manger. we have contemplated the emotions of mary, an unwed mother, and of joseph, the man who is to become her husband. for many of us, this is a beautiful story that reawakens the childhood joys that christmas brought and continues to bring but one that is not literally true.
on a much deeper level, the story of these events is quite real. christmas is a reminder of transcendent love that permeates all of creation. christmas is a reminder that in the darkest time of the year, there is a light shining through the darkness. there is a promise of the awakening of that which is dormant. there is the prospect of warm ground that nourishes new life, of crops that will be planted and grow, of flowers that will bloom, of the greening of the earth. the most important of those crops and flowers and green grass is the renewal of love in our hearts.
it is not that christmas is a once-a-year occurrence. rather christmas reminds us that our hearts can be filled with love every day, that each day can become a christmas if our hearts and minds will allow it. every moment is new and can be filled with love if we make the right effort and have the right mindfulness. love is there for the taking and the giving, and that is the real meaning of christmas.
may we embrace the love that is the message of the tiny baby in bethlehem. may we remember that when we sing "o come to us, abide with us, our lord emmanuel" we are asking the love the baby embodies to be present in our hearts. may every day renew the promise of christmas. shalom