“We would like,” the email read, “for you to write 2 articles for this year’s booklet as you think about the joys of Christmas.”
I groaned. Why not something easy like, A Comparative Analysis of Religious and Secular Christmas Traditions in Seventeenth Century Rural England? Joy? Seriously?
For years Christmas has been, for me, a season to survive.
I grit my teeth and get through this “most wonderful time of the year” as best I can. Somewhere along the way the snowy white Yuletide of my childhood vanished.
Days passed without inspiration as I nursed an honest-to-goodness writer’s block. How hard could this be?
Finally, out of sheer desperation, I turned to my grandchildren Rachel, 7 and Hunter, 9. “I have a dilemma,” I explained; and then asked, “How would you define Christmas joy?”
Hunter offered, “It’s like the Christmas song, Joy to the World. It’s telling people about Jesus. It’s an exciting thing.”
Rachel piped up, “Christmas is about having a good time.”
“No, Rachel,” Hunter countered, “Christmas is about Jesus.”
Just like that, he took control of the conversation. “People forget,” he continued, “the real point. ‘For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.’ ”
“Sometimes in life,” he continued, “the slightest amount of help to somebody can go a long ways in changing a life.”
He told me about the day he jammed his thumb. It hurt, and he didn’t feel like playing, so he sat on the sideline. He spotted another boy sitting nearby, alone and sad.
Hunter struck up a conversation with him and soon he was telling him about Jesus.
“After I told that kid about Jesus, I’m thinking sure my thumb hurts but my heart it feels so good. I feel like God just opened that door.”
And, I’m thinking as I sit looking at him, “This child gets it.”
That’s when I felt it . . . Christmas Joy a stirrin’ in my heart.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour,
which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10-11