Friday, November 25, 2005

Lode 11-30

The song says that there are twelve days of Christmas, but if all the shopping days are counted, the season lasts for about a month. No reasonable person will argue that the over-commercialization of Christmas is a good thing. Yet beneath all the tinsel, candy-canes and mistletoe is a very wholesome thing. The ritual of buying presents for loved ones is the most sensible thing to do to celebrate December 25th, and doing so brings us closer, not further, from the true meaning of Christmas.

Even without the early-bird sales, Christmas marks a very important time of year, especially for Christians. When God became man to pay the penalty for our sins, he showed his great love for mankind. Although we can in no way repay Christ, we ought not keep the joy we have found to ourselves. It makes sense to pass it around. It makes even more sense to wrap it up in the form of a present so that the joy takes the form of a surprise.

No doubt there are those who cannot see how the giving of simple gifts has anything to do with an impoverished child's birth in ancient Judea. There will always be unfortunate souls who would spoil what is in itself a wholesome thing. Yet scrapping the affair of gift-giving because of the occasional holiday mayhem is akin to throwing out the newborn babe with the bathwater.

Indeed, it is charming to think of the deep symbolism so many miss each year. The wrapped presents, poking playfully from under the tree that bring mirth to small children will one day lead to that far greater joy the child-like shepherds had, when they too, found a present. For they found the most precious gift of all, and it too was wrapped, not in paper, but in swaddling clothes.

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