Christmas and the holiday season has come to a close for another year. Before it gets too far in the distant past, I want to share a few thoughts. Each year, as the Fall season comes to a close, I pull out three of my favorite texts of all time:
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry
Birth of the Savior, The Gospel of St. Luke
When I consider these works as a triad, and ponder why they mean so much to me, I realize a few things... the first being that redemption is important. It was a thrill to travel to London in the summer of 2023 with my sister, Melanie. I have dreamt of such a trip for years and was excited to walk in the footsteps of some of my favorite authors. Amongst those favored few is Charles Dickens. A Christmas Carol has the ability to change me every time I read it. I know the story well, yet I still weep with relief when Ebenezer realizes all the actions he must take to make amends for his past decisions. We have our shortcomings in this earthly existence, and it is vitally important that we learn from our mistakes and create an opportunity to fix them. I felt a bit of Dickensian London one dark misty night as we wandered some of the cobbled streets he traversed as a young boy. I bring that with me now each time I read this story anew.
Introduced to The Gift of the Magi at an early age by my parents, I did not see the inevitable coming during that first innocent reading...that each partner in the coupleship would give up their only prized possession in order to acquire a worthy Christmas gift for their true love. It still makes me cry to this day, because I think it is the only way to have a successful marriage...to be willing to exchange that prized possession, be it physical or metaphorical. As a statistic of divorce, it grieves me that we could not work out this principle. I think every young couple about to marry should read this book and discuss it with their love. Nevertheless, I try to apply these precepts outside of romantic love and find the impact to be just as powerful. We know what people need. Will we give it?
Finally, I read with reverence each December these passages, and take heart. I look for subtle differences between Luke and Matthew's versions of these events. I try to hear their voices reaching out to me across time, telling me about their experiences. I wonder at the strength of Mary, the quiet compassion of Joseph, and of course, that baby, who would eventually redeem us, Jesus Christ. I imagine myself there, watching Him grow into a boy and then a young man. I picture him embracing his parent, perhaps explaining the work he will embark upon, that there will be pain, and eventually death, but ultimately, joy. I like to think that I will recognize Him when we meet one day, and I look forward to thanking Him for what he did for me, and for you.
Finishing out the last 16 days of my 31 Days of Pink Christmas was a fun way to end the year, remember what matters most, and to look forward with hope to 2024. Happy New Year
Days 16-18: Relax and Unwind!
Days 19-21: Make a Wish!
Days 22-24: Anticipation!
Days 25-27 Joy.
Days 28-31: The Gift of Ordinary Days
I hope you found something that inspired you during 31 Days of Pink Christmas with Stephanie! Follow me for some fresh content in January 2024!