By: Jana Greene
They come from all walks of life and every background.
The people you meet at Christmas.
They love, hate, dread or excitedly anticipate Christmas. They are us, full of the spirit or full of ourselves.
Here is sampling of the Five people you might meet at Christmastime:
“My ornaments are so last year.”
Stuff, stuff and more stuff. Black Friday? Not for these guys and gals. Why wait when you can blacken Thanksgiving evening? Christmas is packages, boxes and bags. So much to DO! Genuine givers they may be, but the baby Jesus gets a little lost in the shuffle of shopping and wrapping. In the extravagance of perfectly decking the halls, it is easy to forget that the son of God was born in a simple stable surrounded by livestock. It’s very easy to forget when retailers break out the red and green before the Labor Day sales are over.
The Grinchy Begrudger:
“If you can’t prove it, remove it!”
These folks don’t believe in a power higher than themselves and resent anyone who does. Live and Let Live is not their strong suit. They will spend time researching to make sure that a life-size nativity scene is not set atop any government or public property, and would cut the leg off of the Wise Man whose plastic sandal touches the border. Bah!
“Christmas tree? No-sir-ee! That right there is a” Holiday Tree!”
The star atop that tree is not representative of the Star of Bethlehem, but could be any astrological phenomenon. The Homogenizer doesn’t really want to take Christ out of Christmas, just water it down enough to please everyone. “Happy Non-Specific Winter Jubilee Holiday Solstice,” might be the response to a greeting of “Merry Christmas”, when a simple “you, too” would be just as easy.
For true believers, Christmas is the birthday of someone whom they love very much. Having had an intimate spiritual encounter with Jesus, they know him personally. They appreciate folks who – if they practice another faith (or no faith at all) -can allow Christmastime to be celebrated without knickers knotted in staunch offense. For Revelers? The wonder and awe of the season revolves around the birth of a savior. But be warned; Revelers might insist on wishing you a merry Christmas with nary a thought of hurting your feelings because, um…. it is Christmastime.
The fifth person you might meet at Christmas is God.
“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.” – John 3:16
God as a person? Yes.
That’s what all the hullabaloo is about, you see. God poured over bones and under flesh and wrapped in swaddling clothes. God himself, who lived as a carpenter by trade and at thirty years of age began to assemble a rag-tag band of twelve to follow him. God, who in three years of ministry to his creation, changed the entire trajectory of human history (and more importantly, of human lives). God, whose flesh and bones hung on a cross to make sacrifice for all of us – Begrudgers, Homogenizers, Consumers, Revelers, and everyone else– and rose from the dead on the third day. His birth has been celebrated in some way every year since. He lives even today.
You might encounter God this Christmas. He welcomes us all -– to gather at the manger and see what Christmastime is all about.
God bless us. Every one.