Christmas has it's own unique magic. Something within our hearts changes at Christmas. We are more generous, joyful and excited than any other time of year. I can think of no other time during the year when there is such a wide spread community transformation. I'm not talking about the external stuff we see like decorations and the Christmas music being played, I'm thinking about what goes on inside of us at Christmas. What we call that Christmassy feeling. That hard to describe joyful emotion that bubbles away deep in your heart. A feeling that flows over into what you wear (colourful jumpers), what you do (buy gifts) and what you expect (others to buy gifts for you). In many ways we embrace our inner child and begin to see the world differently. Our imagination is reawakened and we allow ourselves to live in a world of unseen beings who want to do good to us. We suspend all logic and dwell happily in the world of elves and Santa and flying reindeers and an impossible task achieved in one night. Save the Children have called their Christmas campaign "Protect the Magic". Their introduction captures something of the Christmassy feeling:
'It is the spirit and imagination of kids that make this such a magical time of year for us all. At Christmas, a carrot can become a snowman’s nose and a chimney is transformed into Santa’s grand entrance. We adults will go to extraordinary lengths to keep the magic alive. And while Christmas might be a bit different for all of us this year, together we can make sure it's as magical as ever.'
They have it right, haven't they? Each year we work hard so we have a magical Christmas. This year it has felt like an uphill battle to bring the magic to life for us and those we love. We believe the battle is worth it to capture that feeling because we enjoy the magic of Christmas. Christmas without feeling Christmassy is just unthinkable.
But why is that? Why is Christmas cheer so important to us? What is it about that Christmassy feeling that we love?
Consider this: what if we enjoy the magic of Christmas because it reawakens in us a truth that we have suppressed all year long?
What if the world isn't as mundane as we're led to believe? What if there's more to this world than what you see? What if we live in a world that is mysterious and supernatural. And what if we are beings that have a body and a soul. Could it be that our longings for the magic of Christmas betray us. We say that we are just flesh and bone but our longings reveal in us and to us desires and hopes that go beyond what we are told. They say we are more than highly evolved animals, more than our hormones, more than our genetics. There's a quality about us and our world that can't be defined by science or understood by logic. There's a 'magic' to this world that we suppress from January to November but like a ball held under the water it pops up in December. And we welcome it as a relief from the desolate world we inhabit. A world we have created. A world where we have excluded the supernatural and mysterious. If truth be told we don't really feel alive in that world, it really only feels we are surviving. But at Christmas we really come alive.
Can that longing ever be fulfilled or are we to live in disappointment waiting for next December?
NO, NO NO! We don't have to wait, Wizzard's wish has come true. We can have Christmas everyday-not the stresses or expense but the joys and delights. There is within the Origin of Christmas what CS Lewis called a deep magic.
Not a superficial, temporary feeling that will be packed away in a few days when the last present is unwrapped BUT a deep and growing joy as we daily unwrap the Gift that God has given us. The gift of His Son. Day by day we get to see more and more of the wonder of Jesus Christ. All that He is, all that's he's done and all that He will do. As we unwrap this Gift we begin to see the world through His eyes. We begin to delight in the world around us as He does.
The wonder of Christmas is that that the "Word [God] became flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14), "That a Saviour has been born to you, he is Christ the Lord...you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger" (Luke 2:11-12).
God the Father is the greatest gift giver. He has given what we need and what our hearts long for.
"He was in the world and though the world was made through Him the World did not recognise him. He came to that which was his own and his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name he gave the right to become children of God..." (John 1:10-12)
Have you received Jesus? If you have, you have in Him the greatest gift. So great is this gift that it will take a lifetime to fully unwrap and an eternity to enjoy.
Why not spend a little time over Christmas reading through Luke's Gospel and unwrap God's Greatest Gift.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.