Dear Aspiring Immortal,
Driving down the street I noticed a small house outlined in bright white lights. In the center of the roof lay a large white cross. Please, I thought, don’t remind me of the fate of the baby whose birthday triggers this worldwide annual celebration.
The gaity of the season eludes me this year because several people who are dear to me have passed away. In this melancholy mindset I wonder why mankind would be so happy--knowing what this infant Jesus lost in power, wealth, and peace to become one of us.
Doesn’t anyone else think this is very sad? After all, not only did this precious babe lose so much, His short life was spent suffering ridicule, rejection, and poverty. How can celebration be the proper response to the beginning of a life of sorrows? Instead of tinsel and bells, shouldn’t we show a little more sympathy by hauling out the black arm bands and drawing our shades in shame?
Why is the world working so hard to be happy now? Are we so crazy that we prepare hams and sugarplum feasts and exchange elegant gifts because God went through so much for us? This seems so one-sided, so self-centered. Don’t we care about His homeless life of suffering and buffeting the arrogant at every turn?
The answer dawned on me. Love. Being torn from the heavenly realm, loss of power, rejection, and ridicule weigh little compared with love. As hard as it is to imagine, even His assassination pales in the light of His love--for mankind. It is not so much that the baby came to earth to pay for our impulses, indulgences, selfishness, and poor judgement and that we should be ashamed of the need for this. But that He was first in demonstrating how small darkness is, and how much bigger love is than anything on earth.
And because of this quintessential act, we have more than the knowledge of good and evil, we have knowledge of love. Love takes the sting away from calamity of every kind, it heals and transforms.
When you look at the baby in the manger, and I hope you will have a moment to do so, the response should not be to cry at his fate, or to consume a lot, but the only proper response should be to show love. Truthfully, the most appropriate would be for us to show love to the least deserving person we can find. Then this spirit of Christmas, of the birth of this baby, will echo in our hearts. What a nice gift to give and to receive at the same time!