Today, as you unwrap brightly colored gifts, share a hug or a kiss under the mistletoe and relish in the magic that this most wondrous season will bring, it will, in many ways, be a symbol of Christmas.
You’ll spend time with family and friends, share a few laughs, perhaps even shed a few tears for those you’ve lost over the years, loved ones who won’t be able to share this special time of year with you.
But what about the real feeling of Christmas? When will it come? Will you recognize it? Will you feel it in your heart?
There will be many emotions shared today — love, sadness, happiness, excitement, emptiness — but none of those feelings will truly encompass the emotion that Christmas will bring when it truly envelopes your heart.
While Christmas is about the gift-giving, and the gift receiving; about the families and the food; about the love and the cheer; about the smiles and the excitement that lights up a child’s eyes; about Santa Claus, reindeer and stockings filled to the brim, there’s something else about Christmas that will come — quietly but forcefully, entering our lives at some point during today, Christmas Day
And when it does, we’ll know that it is, in fact, Christmas.
It’ll be that feeling we get when we realize that this day truly symbolizes something great.
For Christmas won’t come when we open the presents.
It won’t come just because we celebrate with friends and family.
It won’t magically appear just because today is the culmination of dozens of days of shopping and wrapping and spending.
It won’t come until we stop, open our hearts and feel the love of a tiny babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, a baby that Christians believe is the hope for all the world.
In that moment, when you focus on that baby, Christmas will come and with it will come all the feelings — sharing and giving, love and caring, compassion and tolerance — that signify that there truly is hope for this world.
It is a hope that, we believe, begins and ends with a baby who would be king. The child who would grow into a man who, though he didn’t have a home, never traveled more than 200 miles from the place he was born, lost popularity at a young age and was nailed to a cross between two thieves, would die to save us all.
That’s when Christmas will begin for us … and when it begins, though the day may come and go, the feeling will never leave.