It has been our pleasure to spend this Christmas time in the United States and with our whole family for the first time in many years and with friends both from long past and new. Contrasting it all with our life in Congo there are some striking differences. I have noticed what seems to be a hesitation to use the words “Merry Christmas” almost as though you might offend some. Happy Holidays seems to be the substitute that would leave Christ out and be less offensive. I guess I have never been that politically correct but is does seem like many wonderful things are hijacked to be the representation of something totally different and often opposed to their origin. Rainbows as a symbol of gays or owl’s association with witches, to name a few. I guess that the real meaning of Christmas is not as good for sales as Santa Claus.
Don’t get me wrong. I am all for the celebration and giving gifts and all. In fact this is sounding much more negative than I had intended at the start.
The contrast of Congo and the US is striking….over the top riches and things. I walk in the mornings and this morning I walked past a nativity with live sheep and a donkey. It was cold and early and I had to look over a tarp to see the scene inside. The animals got a little start but quickly came over to me for a rub and I felt the joy of life forms or differing types connecting. Then I looked up in the corner where Mary and Joseph stood with the baby Jesus lying in a manger in the hay. The Christmas connection happened for me right then. God sending his very own son, out of fabulous riches and power to be a helpless baby in the care of first-timer parents with very little in the way of what we consider the blessings of life. But there was a purpose in it all. That is what I am so grateful for this Christmas. The sacrifice and the purpose. It inspires me to live a Christlike life of purpose. I hope there is something that fires you up to the real meaning of Christmas this year that fills you with Joy!