I hear a lot of Christmas quotations every year, and this year is no exception.
The other day a premier of another province said, “I’m the guy who’s stealing Christmas” and I thought, “No, you’re not. No one can do that.”
Lots of – and I hasten to add, extremely necessary – rules and regulations are curtailing many of the ways we have traditionally celebrated Christmas, but can anyone steal it? I don’t think so.
Just ask the Grinch.
In his amazing parable about the true value of Christmas, Ted Geisel (himself a very devout Lutheran) sought to show us something different.
The Grinch didn’t like Christmas and wanted to get rid of it, so he stole all the trimmings and trappings. He even went to the refrigerator and stole the roast beast!
But on Christmas morning, he was stunned to find that the Whos down in Whoville were singing with the same joy and enthusiasm with which they had sung every Christmas.
The Grinch was shocked: “It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes or bags!” He hadn’t stopped Christmas from coming at all – it came just the same.
Such a powerful truth to learn in this time of a pandemic.
While I love gathering with family over a big dinner, and sharing stories and laughter around the Christmas tree, and going to see concerts and plays and other festivities, I do not need any of those things to know that Christmas will happen this year, as it has for centuries.
God’s message of unconditional and everlasting love that we Christians believe came to the world in such a unique and powerful way that first Christmas will continue to live in our world.
Its simple truth invites all of us – whatever our belief system – to share kindness and goodness with one another, and to recommit ourselves to living more loving and peaceful lives, even in a world in chaos and turmoil.
Blessings to you all in this holy season, and through the new year!
Rev. Dr. Donald Schmidt is with Summerland/Westbank United Churches.