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a hope-filled christmas


i updated my facebook status yesterday to wish all my facebook friends a blessed christmas. i wrote this: i'm wishing you a richly blessed christmas, the kind where hope gets born again in you.
a friend of mine commented on that status: sure beats the other kind.
i don't know if that was a genuine or sarcastic comment, but it certainly got me thinking about the variety of ways to experience christmas: as a happy holiday, a nice break from routine, a celebration of 'stuff,' a wonderful time to be with family, a time to relive certain meaningful traditions, and so on. there are so many good things about christmas that are peripheral. i mean, they are still good things, but they aren't the main point.
the main point, of course, is that a bloody screaming little baby, who was God with skin on, was born one day, and that forever changed the course of history. the main point, of course, is that because of that birth there amongs the animals, the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.
but its easy to miss that point. it is easy to lose sight of the light in the glare of an electric christmas. it is easy to miss the gift of that loud newborn in the midst of a mess of gifts we'll give this week. it is easy to miss the hope that these days are supposed to be about in the midst of the bad news of economy and war and corruption and status quo.
and so, i agree with my facebook friend: a christmas where hope is somehow born again in me sure beats the kind of christmas that is mostly marked by food and gifts and traditions. those are all really wonderful things. but i wish for people something more, something more threatening and comforting all at the same time, something that just might make a difference come january and beyond: hope.
may you remember the frailty and fragility and wild insanity of a tiny little birth so long ago: a flicker in the darkness that is a light that will never go out. may Christ be born again in the retelling of the story, in the opening of your heart, and in your ongoing love in the weeks and months ahead. merry christmas, everyone. i hope it is the hope kind.
gracepeace,
greg.

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