Another of my FB friends posted one of those "Christmas begins with Christ"  from "Keeping Christ in Christmas."   First, we will ignore that the earliest recorded mention of Christmas was from a monk in 354 who noted that December 25 was established as the birth of Christ in 336 AD.Then we shall ignore that ALL of what we consider Christmas traditions come from pagan traditions.  Well, not quite all, the Roman tradition of Saturnalia included gifts to the poor, not to one's self and one's family.

Instead we shall focus on who Christ was and what His Lessons to us were.  He came to let us know His Father loved us so much He would sacrifice His only son for us.  He came to give us His Father's Commandments for life.He also came to tell us we can be forgiven for our sins. 

He opened hearts when He fed the multitudes. Now don't argue with me about how He did it.  Sure, the son of God was perfectly capable of materializing loaves and fishes out of the air.  Isn't the greater miracle that He touched the hearts of regular old human beings, whose natural tendency is toward making sure they get theirs first?  What a miracle that baskets could pass through the crowd and the people were so moved by Christ's presence that they freely placed into those baskets the fish and bread they had intended to feed themselves and their families, so that all present might eat?  Where is the lesson for mankind in a magical production of  loaves and fishes?  Normal human beings cannot do that!  Only the Son of God!  However, normal men can realize that they can manifest the love Christ showed every day, by releasing greed from their hearts, and sharing their wealth with others, as He himself did every day.  What a miracle that they could do as Christ did!

 He accepted sinners as companions, including prostitutes.  "Go," He says "and sin no more."  He admonished those who asked why He allowed such people into His company.  He says, instead, that those who are without sin should cast the first stones.  Of course, nobody is qualified, as humans are all sinners.  Who are we to talk about who is sinning, committing abominations?  Who are we to chide them constantly about their sins?  We are told to judge not.  Jesus or His Father, can ask people not to sin any more.  

So let all those of us who call themselves Christians, put Christ INTO Christmas.  If you are going spend yourselves into debt with your credit cards, do it not for yourself and your family, but for those who have nothing. Give of yourself by working at one of the many Christmas dinners for the homeless, the poor, the people who lost their homes in Sandy, and who are still struggling in New Orleans.Spend the day at a local nursing home or rehabilitation or veterans facility.  Have a neighbor who is coping with a terminally ill family member?  Give them a break, raise their spirits.  Take that fabulous meal to them.  

Above all, teach your children there is worth in everyone:  rich or poor, white or not, young or old, conservative or liberal, church-goer or not.  Jesus told us the Kingdom of God is within.  God is Love.  It is within us all.  We have only to let it shine.

And now I will share with you my favorite non-Biblical Christmas story.  O. Henry's The Gift of the Magi.



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