So this is Christmas. Eve.
Christmas is a special time in a lot of different ways.
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For one, it’s a time for family. As I write this, we’ve been following my Air Force son’s progress as he travels home for Christmas from his base. Although we’ve seen him a couple of times, he hasn’t been home since he left for Basic Military Training in the middle of August.
The airmen in training often leave en masse for Christmas and New Year’s in what is termed “The Exodus.” This year’s Exodus was a bit suspenseful due to the massive winter storm that is blanketing much of the country. Many flights are delayed or canceled leaving many Christmas travelers to promise their loved ones, “I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams.”
I’m not ashamed to say that I get misty when I hear that song this year. The old WWII carol has taken on a new meaning with my own son serving almost a thousand miles away. He is stateside and not in combat, but I have new appreciation and sympathy for those who have endured such hardships… on both sides of the oceans.
Ethan did make it home, but it was a long day of traveling that didn’t go as originally planned. His trip is a story in itself, suffice it to say, as we pilots sometimes joke, “Time to spare? Go by air!”
All that brings me to hope, another special aspect of Christmas. Many of us are hoping to see our loved one or hoping that flight doesn’t cancel. Kids are hoping for that special toy.
But the ultimate meaning of Christmas is a much deeper hope. It’s the hope that God has given us through the Christ child.
Jesus not only gives us hope for eternal life, but hope for love and acceptance within this life. Christians are not perfect, I’ve written several times over the past year or so about our failings, particularly within the political realm. We need to try to do better, but our failings as humans don’t undermine the historical validity of Biblical story. Erick Erickson, someone I’ve had my differences with over the past year, covered that well yesterday.
Finally, Christmas is about unity. The Christmas Spirit often inspires people who are normally adversaries to put aside their differences and pull together. Whether it’s warring factions in the homeowners association or soldiers at war on the Western Front in 1914 or Democrats and Republicans nitpicking at other, we often find a little peace and unity through a common love of Christmas. Maybe the warring factions in Ukraine, both of whom claim the Christian label, will find room for a Christmas truce this year.
And that common love of Christmas is rooted in Christ. This is the one time of year when even atheists and skeptics can often be found raising their voices in songs that praise the baby of Bethlehem.
In Philippians, Paul wrote that “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow.” I like to think that Christmas is a partial fulfillment of that verse. In that sense, Christmas is a little bit of Heaven on Earth.
But you don’t have to be Christian to celebrate Christmas. That’s part of the beauty of the holiday. The Christmas Spirit can take hold even if you don’t believe in the deity of Christ. It isn’t exclusionary.
Christmas is a time when we strive to be a better version of ourselves, no matter what our religious beliefs. That’s an attitude that all of us should try to hold on to throughout the new year.
CHRISTMAS CAROL COUNTDOWN: A few years ago at The Resurgent, I compiled a top 10 list of my favorite Christmas songs. I maintained the piece on my personal blog and I’m going to link it here for your listening enjoyment. I think it holds up pretty well, but feel free to offer your own additions and opinions.
A TWISTED CHRISTMAS: One carol that didn’t make the cut (because I didn’t know about it) was Twisted Sister’s cover of “O Come All Ye Faithful.” As they say, make a joyful noise to the Lord! Seriously, it’s actually quite good. You can find more of their Christmas songs and an entire concert on YouTube and streaming services.
Hat tip to Chris Karr for this one!
Merry Christmas to all of you from all of us at the Racket News!
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