Eric’s Sunday Sermon; Christmas and Love
I suppose if you went to this church for a service it would be called a High Mass.
We can just look around and see it and be it.
Ain’t life grand this time of year? We will begin our actual Christmas day early as we have a five year old in the home. Oh the joy and the excitement that little ones bring to Christmas. He loves Christmas. And that makes his mom and I love Christmas – as though we needed another reason.
Hey did you notice something while doing all your shopping? I just noticed it this year. If you stand in a line for checkout, then the clerk is overwhelmed with work. And half the people in line are upset over the long lines and are harried to get all the shopping done. Many people take it out on the clerk in rudeness and unpleasantness toward the clerk. If you take the time to be really nice to the clerk and share a sincere “Merry Christmas” and maybe even compliment the clerk on the great job they are doing it really means something a little extra during this busy season. It is like the perfect opportunity to share the love that you can bring.
Did you know that a recent survey of some sort just indicated that upwards to 90% of people buy themselves a gift? Seems a little odd and to be a high percentage so I asked some friends about it and to a person they all admitted doing it. Sly little smiles on their faces. So I sat and thought about that and it made me happy. It seems that in today’s world our self-criticism is a bit rampant. We are always comparing ourselves to others and being upset with our selves that we do not do better. Buying yourself a gift is kind of like saying we love ourselves. And that is a really cool thing indeed.
We are given the opportunity during this season to see and share and include ourselves in the love. Could it be that there are two reasons for the season?
Make of it what you will.
We could be sad that we don't get snow here for Christmas
We take the good with the bad!
How about stopping for a moment and thinking of each gift you have chosen and gotten for somebody else. Sorry to tell you this but many people kind of do the wrapping of presents like an assembly line. Kind of taking the specialness of each gift for granted. So I said “stop the madness” and we take the time to pray on each gift. We really do not pray on the gift we simply say “may this gift find (fill in the blank) happy and well and in love when they receive it. Maybe, just maybe, the love we have actually gets shipped a thousand miles with the package. Or fills our home as it sits under the tree. It would be cool if love worked that way and maybe it does if our hearts are into it.
I just love this old line from what now is an old song. Love the one you are with. Being the kind of guy that can take most songs and make them mean what I want them to mean. I take this song and make it mean to “love the one your with” as brotherly type love. It very well might mean something else but I’ll ignore that as is my want. Truthfully I take a lot of love songs and turn them into praise songs. Try it you might like it.
Don’t you just love sleeping in, I do. But the problem is that I love being up at the crack of dawn more. I guess I just love both options. Hmm, what a dilemma of happy. I suppose that I could be bummed out missing either one, but it just makes sense to rather love the one I choose on any given day. This morning I slept in an hour and still caught to sunrise. The point is this: We cannot do everything all the time so we got to love the choices that we make. This time of year it is only right to miss those whom you dearly love and cannot be with. So put on your big boy pants and get over it and bring on the love to those you are with. I had to spend one Christmas alone once. Well I really was not alone, I was trapped with 100 or more others in an airport in Montreal. I still correspond with one of the other weary travelers from that long ago Christmas away from home. We made a good go of spreading the love around even though it was not where any of us wanted to be. You can do that to, because I am not that special.
The love of the Father to send his son to be sacrificed for us is a love beyond compare.
Beauty is a special gift.
Even you can spread the love baby!
Now this next part I am reluctant to share but it fits in with this notion of maybe helping someone else get through a rough Christmas. We hope you find the hope in it as it is meant.
Please sit down and read this for both our sakes or maybe for the sake of a loved one. I am crazy happy this time of year. The fact is that I am contagiously happy. Take it easy we will get heavy in a little bit. If you saw me you would not say that I am normal. And in certain ways I am not. I have a malady. Remember Paul with the thorn in his side? Well I got a thorn that Jesus just won’t take away. I gave up quite some time ago questioning God’s judgement. If I am to have this malady at least I have joy. If you knew my malady you would say to me how can you be happy and joyous even though you have this malady? I would say to you that my malady effects my emotions and feelings but it does not disturb my connection with God. Joy is a gift and is not just a simple emotion.
So you can be in a depressive state and still be joy filled. Depression messes with cognitive function. There are problems that are debilitating such as inability to concentrate and inability to remain focused for any period of time that it takes to get something done of import. It messes with what we might call motivation and it creates in us a bleak picture of the world and events around us. But it does not have to mess with the wonders of Love, Gratefulness and Joy. Did you know you can be in a hospital bed suffering from what would be called “terminal” cancer and still be in Love, Gratefulness and Joy? I know because I have done it and believe me I am not that special in that way.
Let me sound all braggadocios for a second to make a point. I suffer from depression and just got diagnosed with Lymphoma cancer. Yet I see this season as one filled with Love, Gratefulness and Joy. Some would criticize that as Pollyanna syndrome. But I got this Christmas for sure, lest there be a tragic to me accident. So maybe I do not have the energy to shave. That don’t mean I gotta sit in my chair moping. I am giddy with excitement about sharing Christmas with my small family. Here I brag because it may bring to someone hope that no matter their circumstance if they let go and get into the season they too can be giddy with the good stuff. Joy can transcend all of life’s problems.
So we bring what love we bring. Hopefully we start off all the commotion with loving ourselves. Then we get to turn outward and share the seasonal love with others. And then we get to let others share their love with us and the vicious cycle of love never ends. I like to think of it as a refreshment. I know that is a funny use of that term. But it works. Let this season be a refreshing time for your love. And let yourself be refreshing in love with others. Merry Christmas.