Photo by Lauren Schroth
It was my first Christmas away from home.
At work I’d heard several co-workers talk about how they were “sick of Christmas”, or Christmas-ed out. We were closing in on the 25thand they spoke ofhow they couldn’t wait for it all to be over. Christmas had gotten old.
It certainly could have been worse for me. Though I was away from my immediate family, I had extended family and many friends in town. I had much to be thankful for, but sometimes I need some reminding.
It was the fourth Sunday of Advent andit was blizzarding outside and the Cathedral, which is usually full, was almost empty. I was sitting in a pew, feeling pretty sorry for myself that I was there, alone. I knew my family was having bonfires and playing games and sharing music and laughing. I, however,was alone in a near-empty Church in a snowstorm, andI was going to have to shovel, andI was going to have to work the next day as they revelledin familial Christmas bliss. Youknow how these thoughts can build on themselves. I was in the thick of “torturing myself luxuriantly” as my favourite author calls it, until the processional hymn, O Come O Come Emmanuel. My eyes became blurry, and filled with happy tears. O Come O Come Emmanuel, the Lord is coming to us. And it struck me—to a Christian, Christmas never gets old.
Read the first chapter of the Gospel of John and read things like “the word became flesh and dwelt among us and we saw his glory”, or “the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it”. Read in the Canticle of Zechariah, “In the tender compassion of our Lord, the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness, and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet in the way of peace”.
An angel came to Mary, and she said yes. The Incarnation, God came to be with us.
The Mass carried on and tears flowed again when the psalm was sung. “Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord”.
Christmas never gets old. Thoughit sometimes feels like the coziest of Christian holidays, it carries great weight. The story of a baby in a stable is monumental in the story of our salvation. My favourite hymn sums it up well, “for Christ, the man from heaven from death has set us free, and we, through Him are given the final victory”. O Come, O come Emmanuel—here comes the man from heaven to set us free.
God came to earth—the God of the universe became man, the story of salvation is wild and wondrous and beautiful.Who could imagine it? How can I not cry tears of joy? How can I not sing the goodness of the Lord?
For Christians, Christmas will never get old.