Why is it that so many of us feel that Christmas is bearing down upon us like a juggernaut, crushing all in its path and leaving us feeling bruised and beaten down? Could it be that it all starts too early and goes on too long? It’s not even December and yet the Malls have been filled with Christmas decorations and the never-ending music of “Frosty the Snowman” for weeks.
No wonder I have trouble remembering what this season is all about. Before I know it, my calendar is filling up with events and I’m caught up in the rush-rush, hurry-hurry, go-go mentality of the season. “Have you done all your Christmas shopping yet?” the clerk asks me as she bundles up my groceries.
And I’m overwhelmed with the feeling that I’m behinder than the dog’s tail and if I don’t get myself in gear, I’m never going to “get it all done”!
Yet, in the midst of it all, there are glimpses of glory – if we look for them. Small moments that remind us that we are on a journey to a manger in Bethlehem, not to a Christmas tree in the Mall.
I had a such a moment today in the check-out line – a long, slow check-out line. I was feeling anxious and rushed, wondering why I’m always in the slowest line in the store, when I noticed a young mother in front of me with a baby asleep in the cart. “How old?” I asked. “He’s two and a half weeks,” she said proudly. She leaned over him, her face alight with love, and gently stroked his cheek. And in that moment: a glimpse of glory reminding me that Christmas is a manger, a mother and a babe, and love.
These glimpses are all around us: a kindergarten choir singing “Away in a Manger”, the sound of the jingle bells at the Salvation Army kettle, the sight of the nativity scene on the church lawn. They’re there, everywhere, if we just look for them.
And when we find a glimpse of glory, for one wonderful moment, in the midst of the madness of this world’s commercial Christmas, all else fades away and we find ourselves on the road to Bethlehem.
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