Are you caving in to the temptation to party from now clear to New
Year's? Have you heard the angels sing?
Sale ads, greeting cards, Christmas movies and even some carols
make it sound like everyone is gearing up for the same celebration,
but the Christmas season can just as well have very little to do with
the holy day called Christmas.
There's a world of difference between toasting with eggnog over
cookies and canapes and celebrating that moment when "the Word became
flesh and dwelt among us ... full of grace and truth" (John 1:14).
Last week, a friend told me about a book written by John Grisham
called "Skipping Christmas." I haven't read it yet, but I plan to.
It's about a couple, Nora and Luther Krank, who wearied of their
no-holds-barred spending on Christmas: "$6,100 on Christmas ...
decorations, lights, flowers, a new Frosty, and a Canadian spruce ...
hams, turkeys, pecans, cheese balls and cookies ... wines and liquors
and cigars ... fruitcakes ... a cashmere sweater ... an ostrich skin
wallet that was quite expensive and quite ugly ... Perhaps a useful
item or two, but nothing much -- $6,100!"
Someone else gave me a Christmas story, a story circulating the
It's about a mother who vowed to make Christmas "a calm and
peaceful experience," to cut back on card writing, baking, decorating
and overspending, yet who still found herself too exhausted to
appreciate the "true meaning of Christmas." Until she goes to watch
her young son perform in a Christmas play.
At the end of the play, each child holds up a letter, which
together are meant to spell out "Christmas love." But the child
entrusted with the letter "m" holds her letter upside down, so the
letters, instead, spell "Christ was love."
I suspect the story may be contrived. So many of these stories
are, and it doesn't claim to be completely true.
But its punch line, when it comes to the holy day called
Christmas, couldn't be more true. Christ was love. Christ is love,
And that is the meaning and spirit of Christmas that can't be
bought and can't be envied. That is the Christmas that leaves no one
out, because its love is for one and for all.
* MICHELE MARR is a freelance writer from Huntington Beach. She
can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.