Our first real Christmas

Despite the hustle and bustle that so often dominate the holidays, it's still possible to experience the wonder and love of Christmas.

Christmas memories. A trip to see loved relatives, a special recipe, a favorite ornament, or a gift that we just can't forget because of the love that came with it.

Yet as time moves forward and Christmas tends to become less a sharing of love and more something that needs to be scheduled into our busy lives like everything else, we should—and often do—wonder what Christmas really ought to be to us. Perhaps we can do a lot more for Christmas if we'll step back from how the world presents it to us and try to unwrap more of its spiritual significance.

A few years ago I experienced a measure of this deeper meaning of Christmas, and in a rather surprising way. My wife and I had decided we wanted to avoid being swept away by the commercialism and pettiness of the Christmas rush and wanted to spend more time and thought on finding the spiritual substance of Christmas. Oddly enough, the more we focused on this and the closer the time came, the more depressed we became. The sales, the lights, the glitter, even the tree, all turned us off. We didn't buy a single gift or attend a single party that year. And we couldn't seem to find any real joy in our own prayer and study. The season's trappings that surrounded us seemed to be choking our spiritual confidence in God's presence.

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Prayer for an infant
December 25, 1989

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