Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Tonight, the redhead and I attended a neighborhood Christmas Eve potluck in her hometown of Houston. It's an event she hasn't missed for the last fifteen years.

Halfway through the potluck, we took a moment to pause and remember what it's all about. We were asked to read the following commentary originally given in 1971 by Harry Reasoner on "60 Minutes." May it remind you of the wonder and astonishment of what happened that first Christmas in Bethlehem.

"The basis for this tremendous burst of buying things and gift giving and parties and near hysteria, is a quiet event that Christians believe actually happened a long time ago. You can say that in all societies there has always been a midwinter festival, and that many of the trappings of our Christmas are almost violently pagan, but you come back to the central fact of the day, ...the birth of God on earth.It leaves you only three ways of accepting Christmas. One is cynically, as a time to make money or endorse the making of it. One is graciously, the appropriate attitude for non-Christians, who wish their fellow citizens all the joys their beliefs entitle them. And the third, of course, is reverently.

If this is the anniversary of the appearance of the Lord of the universe in the form of a helpless babe -- it is a very important day. It's a startling idea, of course, the whole story that a virgin was selected by God to bear His Son as a way of showing His love and concern for man. It's my guess that, in spite of all the lip service given to it, it is not an idea that has been popular with theologians.

It's a somewhat illogical idea, and theologians like logic almost as much as they like God. It's so revolutionary an idea that it probably could only have come from a God that is beyond logic, and beyond theology. It has a magnificent appeal. Almost nobody has seen God, and almost nobody has any real idea of what He is like, and the truth is that among men the idea of seeing God suddenly, and standing in a very bright light, is not necessarily a completely comforting and appealing idea. But everyone has seen babies, and most people like them. If God wanted to be loved as well as feared, He moved correctly here, for a baby growing up and learns all about people. If God wanted to be intimately a part of Man he moved correctly, for the experience of birth and family-hood is our most intimate and precious experience.

So it comes beyond logic. It is either a falsehood or it is the truest thing in the world. It's the story of the great innocence of God the baby. God in the person of man has such a dramatic shock toward the heart, that it, if it is not true, for Christians, nothing is true. So even if you have not got your shopping all done and are swamped with the commercialism and the frenzy, be at peace...The story stands.So, if a Christian is touched only once a year, the touching is still worth it, and maybe on some given Christmas, some final quiet morning, the touch will take."

Here’s praying that the touch will take in all our lives…and that the amazement will remain all year long. Nothing could make for a better Christmas.

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