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The Spirit of Christmas

19 Dec

Don Merrritt has a wonderful Christian Blog called “Life Reference“, and today posted some thoughts about the Christmas spirit (The Attitude of Jesus) that prompted me to comment. I’ve been a subscriber for a while now, and really enjoy Life Reference. His reply to my comment was very gracious, and I’m following his suggestion here, without much editing. May this sacred season bring you great blessing and peace, Gentle Reader!

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“It’s less than a week until Christmas now and the Christmas spirit is abroad in the land… When I was 10 years old, I knew what that was, but as I get older and older, I’m not so sure what it is. .. To be truthful, neither my 10-year-old view of “that Christmas feeling” or my parental view of “whew, survived” is really the right way to view the situation, as I’ve come to understand now that the kids are grown.” [Don Merritt: The Attitude of Jesus]

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What a fabulous question, Don… “What is the ‘Christmas Spirit’?”

This question, and your thoughtful answer, plucked strings of reflection in me as I read, and while I do not DISAGREE in any way with your considerations here, I thought I’d share what echoed in my own heart on this.

Your answer is thoughtful, loving, reflective… brilliant, even. Probably much more thoughtful and “grown up” than the one that came to my own heart. In my own life, I’ve found “theology simplifying” and the Lord focusing me on ever simpler understanding of Himself, His heart, grace, love, what He expects of me and equips me with and for… So, while I don’t apologize for the rather simplistic or childlike response I’m about to make to your fabulous question, I did think it needed some grounding in this context.

For me, the answer to the question “What is the Christmas Spirit?”, is/was contained in the question itself… the keyword there being “Spirit”. As “spirit”, it is prone to all the challenges of semantics and syllogism, reason and theology. We can approach it, we can discuss it, but we cannot adequately contain or define it. Like Jesus’ disclosure one day to a lonely outcast woman that, “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” As I pondered your question, Don, I simply “became aware” of something that I cannot adequately express, but I’ll try to describe… and it is totally subjective… so if it fits and blesses you or any other, great, and if it does not fit, please cast it aside without hesitation. But it came down to two questions: “Is the Christmas Spirit real? If so, what is it?”

“Is it Real?”… Yes, yes it is. Somehow, right across eras and cultures, humankind seems to experience an annual perception of Advent and Nativity. Our responses and expressions of that awareness or perception are cultural and mutable, but the stimulus seems consistent.

“What, then, is IT?”… I cannot adequately wrap words around this answer, but my mind/heart flashed back to the opening of “Godspell” that I saw years ago… a darkened auditorium, and John the Baptist’s penetrating acapella solo… “Prepare ye the way of the Lord!”… or the breathtaking choral piece “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence”.

It seems to me as if, each year, the very Cosmos itself pauses and trembles in just a moment, a single, solitary moment, of stillness and awe… that echoes the reality of God’s grace planned from before the foundations of Creation. As if all the universe, for just the space of a single heartbeat… stops… in sheer worship and awe… at the wonder and incomprehensibility… that “God became flesh, and dwelt among us.”

In my own heart, the “Spirit of Christmas” is a moment of awareness in and of all of consciousness and creation. A very simple recognition that, beyond all hope, beyond all reasoning, beyond all philosophy or theological sophistication, God Himself came to be with/among us… purely, solely, and totally because He loved/loves us that much!

The Spirit of Christmas is a moment, when the universe itself, and all within it, each year echoes with a chorus of…. “Wow!”

Thank you for such wonderful questions!

 
8 Comments

Posted by on December 19, 2013 in Quiet Time, Uncategorized

 

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8 responses to “The Spirit of Christmas

  1. paulfg

    December 20, 2013 at 1:22 AM

    Dear Gentle Writer – I have just added the words below to Don’s piece. And I must add them here as well. You both touched me.

    “Dear Don, I read your piece and wanted to comment. But my words were not skilful enough. So I passed by with my lord. And returned late last night for another look. And saw Little Monk’s words. And then your response.
    The lord works in his own time and way. What hit me – with so much tenderness – was the sense that that your words, the comment and your response summed up the “why” and “how” of what this is all about. Without any banners or flags. Just two dudes who love the lord. Sharing. No ego. No one way. No right words. Just full of love, respect and affection.
    If anything has given me hope for what this God and Love stuff is all about right now – it was this exchange.

    (and last night in bed on my smartphone – I tried to tap these words. The lord crashed that attempt for me. This morning, these are the words)

    Now I am off to add these words to Little Monk’s re-blog – along with a follow for a fellow follower! :-)”

    Like

     
    • Little Monk

      December 20, 2013 at 2:31 AM

      Thank you so much and welcome! You and Don humble me. It is such joy to be family with such brethren, sitting about the kitchen table over coffee, discussing the love of Our Father and our privilege to be about the Family Business of rescue. I am so a work in progress, thank you for your prayers. Blessings and grace to thee — LM

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  2. paulfg

    December 20, 2013 at 3:45 AM

    The family business! Love it 🙂

    Like

     
  3. Don Merritt

    December 20, 2013 at 7:17 AM

    Reblogged this on Life Reference and commented:
    Yesterday, Little Monk made comments to my post “The Attitude of Jesus” that was simply amazing, inspiring; wonderful. He has posted my comments and the his response to it that I think everyone should read..Here it is…

    Like

     
  4. janjoy52

    December 20, 2013 at 3:21 PM

    The Spirit of Christmas speaks in every moment of life. Wherever we turn He beckons “See Me!” Yet, as in the Old Testament, He breathes into our holidays, memorials, and established routines a life that is all about Himself. This Spirit is God stepping into our path and inviting us into relationship. His Spirit says “I AM real. I AM here. Celebrate my arrival every Christmas. Dance! Sing! Be amazed that I came just for you. I came to conquer death that you might never taste the second death. I came to give you hope and freedom from fear. Yes! MERRY CHRISTMAS!”

    Like

     
    • Little Monk

      December 20, 2013 at 3:24 PM

      Absolutely! Wondrous and true… Thank you.

      Like

       
  5. chaplynne

    December 24, 2013 at 12:48 AM

    Have recently started following Don’s lifereference I truly appreciated your comments and blog. Powerful.
    Similar to your space glimpse, I have a link to NASA RSS on my blog because I see the stars as God’s creation — wonderfully made–and love the NASA photos. They make me pause and reflect.
    Ironically, I used Godspell’s Prepare Ye the Way in my Advent/Christmas blog, too. You described it so perfectly:
    “but my mind/heart flashed back to the opening of “Godspell” that I saw years ago… a darkened auditorium, and John the Baptist’s penetrating acapella solo… “Prepare ye the way of the Lord!”… ”
    I had a similar experience in a darkened hall with John the Baptist’s entry from behind as he strolled down the aisle and onto the stage with that haunting refrain that has resonated with me years later. I embed Youtube videos of music so I can read Scripture and listen to apropos songs at the same time. I recently imbedded that very piece.
    Thanks for sharing. I can see you are a blog–new to me that I want to follow.

    Like

     
    • Little Monk

      December 24, 2013 at 2:21 AM

      Thank you for your kind comments, and welcome. Please enter into discussion, whether here or at Life Reference… it makes it all so much richer. Blessings and grace to thee!

      Like

       

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