“How Was Your Christmas?”
In the opening days of the New Year people often ask, “How was your Christmas?”
The answer, of course, is supposed to touch on family who came—or whom you visited—people who got sick, flights that got delayed or canceled, dinners or parties or events, and so forth. If the question comes from a close friend, the answer might touch on deeper emotional issues: sons or daughters who didn’t come home, a mother-in-law who hit the wassail a little too hard, an uncle’s crazy political commentary that sent people heading for their cars. But that’s pretty much it.
Even though “How was your Christmas?” is a question about Christ, that’s the one thing you can’t or shouldn’t talk about. But what if we did? What if we said, “That’s a good question . . . I think it finally hit me this year that God in flesh—my flesh—means that my body is good and holy—that every created thing is the body of God.” Or, if we said, “You know, I don’t think anything happened in my inner life this Christmas. Christ was pretty absent. There was just too much stress and drama.”
As we get older, we learn to care a little less about “Christmas”—in the sense of that socially polite question. We begin to approach the season on two levels. All the external stuff is beautiful and good, but it comes and goes, it works one year and doesn’t the next. Yet underneath all of the outward show, the relational chess game, there is a slow and steady light burning within. Christ can be born in the silent, invisible chamber of the heart. And—best of all—that birth can happen even when “Christmas” doesn’t.