Hope in the Air

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Reids are staying home for Christmas this year, as we always have done since before I was born. Our Christmas tree sits in front of our large living room window, welcoming all who drive or walk by. Christmas carols can be heard at any given time coming from the piano, guitar, someone's phone, or someone's mouth.Our house is unusually clean because of the free time we are all left with, and in general, everyone is happy. It has always been this way. Every Christmas brings a certain indescribable joy that hangs in the air for two whole weeks.

And, as a blogger, it seems customary to write a Christmas-themed post about the true meaning of Christmas and how, as Christians, we should live like it's Christmas every single day. This year, though, before I get into any of that, I must communicate a realization that has come over me.

Yesterday, my wonderful grandmother turned twenty-one. She's a beautiful human being inside and out, and we are beyond blessed to have her just fifteen minutes down the road. She came over last night for an extravagant dinner of some sort of bacon-wrapped venison, stuffed potato casserole, sauteed green beans, rolls, and chocolate cake. The rest of the evening was accompanied by lots of Christmas carols. We had our own band, including Jackson's snare drum, a triangle, a tambourine, a woodblock, maracas,  and, of course, the guitar and piano. We had a blast singing all twelve verses of The Twelve Days of Christmas and Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer. In the midst of it all, I couldn't help getting out my camera to try and document the moment. There we were, three adults and four young adults dancing around the living room, singing at the top of our lungs. If there ever was such a thing as Christmas magic, it was with us last night.

I realized something as the chords of O Holy Night echoed in my ears. This Christmas, when I thought about what would await me in my stocking, I wasn't nearly as satisfied as I was ten years ago. When I thought about all the stuff that came along with Christmas and my birthday soon afterwards, it seemed like nothing. In fact, it brought a kind of dread with it, thinking that for so many, that stuff was all they would get this Christmas.

But as I saw the look on my dog's face as we played our abstract instruments to the rhythm of We Wish You a Merry Christmas, I slid to the floor laughing, tears forming in the corner of my eyes and running down my face. Tears of joy, for this Christmas I wasn't getting stuff, I was getting this precious time with the people I loved most, and it was so much more important than fancy clothes and new electronics. 

Some are not as blessed, though. Some wake up Christmas morning without the smell of brewing coffee and the laughing to family members.Some wake up alone in a small apartment, heading straight to work because they couldn't afford to take the day off. It is for times like this that the real meaning of Christmas comes into play.

Two thousand years ago, God incarnate came into the world in the most humiliating way possible., born of a virgin and conceived by the Holy Spirit, but suspected by the public to be born out of sexual immorality. He was born into a stable with filthy, smelly animals, then laid in their feeding trough because no one could provide for Him a real bed. The King of everything, God incarnate, Jesus Christ the Messiah, was born into obscurity in the stench of cattle. He would live a perfect life, preaching the Gospel message, and eventually would be murdered on a torture instrument used for a common criminal.And then, miraculously, three days later, He rose, giving us the opportunity to become children of the Most High God. His life and death gave us the opportunity for new life in Him, a life not plagued by guilt and sin. 

To those whose Christmases will never as family-filled as mine, Jesus bore the burden for you, so now you can live a life free from guilt, knowing that all the evil you've committed is already paid for. This mindset is what makes Christmas at the Reid house so seemingly perfect. Yes, sometimes the cinnamon rolls get slightly browner than they should; sometimes we lash out at each other because of  all the stress building up; sometimes, I forget to get someone a Christmas present. And you know what? That's okay, because we Reids are new creations, living a life in Christ and for Christ. And when we mess up, we know that because of what Jesus did, those sins are not held against us. So we use this Christmas season, and hopefully every season, to communicate the miracle of God incarnate walking the earth as a man, tempted but never sinning, hated but never hating anyone, and dying but rising again so that we, mere sinners, may experience life, and life to the full. 

So the nights when we grab everything in the house that could possibly qualify as an instrument and sing at the top of our lungs, I believe that God Himself smiles down on us, because this little dance party in the Reid living room is a little, tiny piece of heaven brought down to earth. We're celebrating His gift and the new life He has given us, and one day, we'll all stand before His throne and worship Him forevermore. That is our joy this Christmas season and every other time of year, the mystery of this Baby born in a manger, living, dying, and rising for His creation so that they can be given new life and glorify Him.

Whether your Christmas is big or small, warm or cold, remember the Reason not only for the season, but for life itself. And God bless us, every one. 


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