A Reason to Celebrate


I walked out into the chilly night air of December and glanced back as I slowly shut the door. The warm yellow glow of the fire that lit up the room inside caused me to shiver as I watched friends and family laugh and talk. No one noticed me as I closed the door and turned, stepping out onto the snow. I relished the sound that it made under my boots. As I strolled around the guests’ vehicles, I looked over my shoulder again. No one followed me. No one bothered asking where I was going. But I wouldn’t have been able to tell them anyway; I didn’t know.

 

I sighed as I reached the end of the driveway. I stopped before the street and stared down at the tracks made by many cars on the road. I yawned and simultaneously tears sprang to my eyes. Quickly I wiped them away, and sighed. I felt so tired. The Christmas season always made me feel so weary and alone. No matter how many Christmas parties or White Elephants I went to, I couldn’t find this ‘Christmas spirit’ that everyone else seemed to have. Sure, I gave the gifts and sang the carols and sometimes found myself having a good time; but still it all felt so… empty. I wondered if I was the only one who felt as if he was missing something during this season. I came to the conclusion that I was.

 

Why else would I be the only one standing out in the cold so forlornly?

 

I shook my head and stepped onto the road. I began walking down the street, gazing at all the colorful Christmas lights that lit up the dark night. But they didn’t cheer me, though I admired the fancier houses.

 

But why bother? Why all the fuss to make one day out of the year so special? What makes December 25 so much different than any other day?

 

I kicked a rock that flew forward into the belly of a snowman that stood in a neighbor’s yard.

 

Why all the celebration? Is Christmas really just another selfish holiday– an excuse to get more stuff? Why be happy when there is still so much sadness in the world? What is it that makes this time of year so special?

 

Tears filled my eyes as I became frustrated at my confusion on the matter. I wanted to be happy and jolly. I wanted to truly be able to celebrate with games and song. But what was the song for, really? Just for the pleasure of it? Just to make ourselves feel happy?

 

I came up to a dark house with only one string of plain white lights. I looked at the shabby house, and couldn’t help but pause before it as something caught my eye. I tried to get a better look, but a small round, snow covered bush blocked my vision. Stuffing my hands into my pockets, I stepped onto their lawn, cautiously glancing around, and approached a set-up of some kind just a few feet in front of me. I stopped as it came into my full view. It was a wooden nativity set. I took another slow step forward as I studied the old, faded scene that I had seen oh-so many times. But now, it seemed to me more mysterious and glorious. I looked at the three kings with gifts who stood next to a few shepherds surrounded by sheep. But what they all where leaning towards was what caused me to wonder. A young man and woman huddled under a small stable sat around an animal troth filled with hay. They all looked in the direction of this little manger. And lying on the hay was a baby. Little Lord Jesus, as I now recalled from old songs; the Saviour.

 

Saviour.

 

The moon came out from behind the clouds and shone down on the baby that looked upward with such innocence and grace.

 

Grace.

 

I knelt down next to the scene that I had passed by so many times in so many places the past 24 days. And as I lightly touched the face of the baby whom the wisemen had sought and the angels proclaimed, I couldn’t help but think.

 

Is this what Christmas is really all about? And have I really been so ignorant as to not see it? All this time?

 

I bowed my head.

 

Maybe there is a reason to celebrate, after all… For if tomorrow truly is the birthday of the King of kings, then I have more than a reason to sing.

 

 

Merry Christmas, everyone!
~Mary P.J.~

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