The Christmas Spirit Is Always Here
Which one person was the first to start this year's "Christmas Spirit"?
One of our friends is not at home tonight, so I asked the child answering the phone, if the friend had gone to the temple. "No", she replied, "She's out caroling!"
That was the signal that I'm almost too late writing this Christmas Letter!
How the days do fly---or, as Frank Sinatra would sing: "Oh, the days dwindle down to a precious few."
Which one person was the first to start this year's "Christmas Spirit"? It always comes at this time of year. It has to come from somewhere. People are different now, more different than at any time of the year. Pettiness seems to have gone on vacation! Oh, yes, people are tired, and when they have been out looking for gift ideas they can be impatient. But something has changed. Who made the first move? Was it someone handing out trick-or-treats at Halloween? Christmas advertising seems to start then. Was it not until the smile of the first one home for Thanksgiving?
No, I rather think it started this year with someone who was the first to leave home many, many years ago. The firstborn son of a virgin. The first and only begotten son of our Heavenly Father. You know! The first, for whom the angels sang for shepherds to know that Christmas Spirit had come to the world, the first for whom wise men traversed afar to bring the first Christmas gifts. The firstborn born to be the first of them that slept.
And when that First Christmas was over and the world went back to doing then what it does now, when the Christmas Spirit seems to take a vacation, what then of the first one to give us Christmas Spirit. When finally his parents took him home,after their escape to Egypt, surely neighbors and old friends were happy to see them and to know they had been blest with a son. But we know that His mother Mary kept all this secret and alive in her heart; not much more was said about that First Christmas until that son was much older.
Were the Christmases between that sacred birth and the pronouncement in the synagogue many years later all dreary and without Christmas Spirit? I don't think so, for there were the eight days of Hanukkah and its Feast of Lights at this season of the year. And even for those who hold that the First Christmas actually occurred in April when shepherds would have been in the fields and tending their sheep, there would have been the eight-day annual Jewish holiday of the Passover and its Feast of Unleavened Bread which comes at that special season. That same time of year is now the first resurrection and is remembered with more holiness and reverence in today's world than any other Christian holiday, with the possible exception of that First Christmas.
Who started the Christmas Spirit first this year? Perhaps it has never been gone, not even on one terrible Friday many, many years ago which people around the world now call Good Friday. Perhaps this year's Christmas Spirit did, indeed, start that First Christmas. Perhaps we only recognize how important it truly is, when we anticipate its warmth and love and blessings at this time of year, and look around, and listen, and sense its presence more than the presents.
Let us thank our Heavenly Father for the Christmas Spirit once again. Perhaps our wish that it could be Christmas all thoughout the year is only that: just a wish? No, I think the Christmas Spirit never leaves; it just gets forgotten.
Perhaps the key to having Christmas Spirit all through the year is simply remembering all through the year what Passover, Hanukkah, and the First Christmas were all about. If we can, it will truly be a happy, new year.
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