So it’s Christmas Eve once again. The shopping is (hopefully) done. The presents are wrapped. Kids everywhere ―and some grownups I know― wiggle and giggle and plead “Can’t I open just one?” If you live in the northerly parts of the country, like me, the snow crunches under your booted feet and the stars twinkle in the crisp night air. If you happen to be in Hawaii, like 5/8 of my family, you are kickin’ it on the beach. Where it’s 90 degrees warmer than it is here. Where it’s cold. Really, really cold.
I’m not complaining because seriously, what is Christmas without snow? And who wants to wear shorts in December? That’s just not natural. . . Really, I’m not jealous . . . too much. I guess I’m just missing the 5/8 of my family that won’t be home for Christmas. I’ll miss the crowded table and Mom’s food and playing cutthroat Catchphrase and the chaotic dinner conversations ranging from quantum physics to the afterlife and everything in-between. I am grateful for the 3/8 of my family that will be together and we will still have fun. And maybe, for once, I’ll get to see everyone open their presents instead of a swirling blur of paper and ribbons.
Family is so important, especially at Christmas, and doubly so when we feel their absence. But the older I get, the more I realize that family is more than your parents and siblings and spouses and children. Family is your friends and coworkers and the checker in the grocery store and the homeless guy holding a sign on the street corner. It’s those people who live “over there”. And the ones who talk funny and dress weird and eat strange food and believe baffling ideas.
Christmas is the day the Prince of Peace came to shine the light of God’s love into all the dark and dusty corners of the world. He came to teach us that no matter how different we may all seem to be, we are a family, united by the God Spark inside each one of us. He came not to point fingers but to embrace us and to teach us to embrace each other.
My wish this Christmas is for us to let that spark ignite in our hearts and illuminate the joy and wonder that lives inside us. I wish we could all imagine a world without fear and anger and hate. On this night of all nights, I wish we would let the Light of Heaven fill us with love for all our brothers and sisters because if we can do that, even if only for a minute, the world will know peace.
That is asking a lot from the billions of souls who walk this earth but I have faith in the glory of God, the power of hope and the goodness of people and I know that someday it will happen because that is the promise. . . and the miracle of Christmas. . .