This is a particularly sensuous time of the year. Our senses are heightened and our emotions hang on a little whim that can move anywhere from delight to disappointment, from excitement to boredom, from bright eyed consciousness to dead to the world long nights of dark sleep, and from deep joy to huge regret. No one is immune from this season. Our otherwise secure and strong borders are hardly ever invaded during the regular year but then we get to mid-November and the season of the tearing down of all protections has arrived. I have heard of people spending way too much on a gift when they are an otherwise frugal and tight-fisted person. I know a man who has only a few distant family members but he makes it a point to buy many bicycles throughout the year in order to distribute them to parents who then get the credit as the surprised children find them on Christmas morning. He keeps his eyes open and sees his bikes throughout the year. He is an otherwise level headed person.
The birth of Jesus just goes to our heads. The chance to offer a surprise to someone who is not expecting a surprise is too rich of an opportunity to ignore. We want to surprise like Jesus surprised. The chance to see the best in a person and then reward that best trait is not unlike how Jesus sees in us the image of God when we otherwise reveal a sourness. The moments of extreme and unexplained glee are not unlike the emotions of an exciting mother who both knew the Truth of the birth while also experiencing the natural joy of a soon to be mother. The few tears that weep from our eyes unexpectedly after hearing a carol that has been heard a million times is not unlike the timeless beauty and joy we know at the knowledge that we are a part of a love that is both common and exuberant.
Christmas is when the uncommon, extravagant, undeserved, exhilarating, and sacred love of God is known. We hardly know how to respond so we buy gifts, give nameless gifts, forgive broken situations, love more than we have ever thought it possible to love, and find joy in otherwise joyless situations.
Here we are again, in front of a manger, choked up, with candles burning, children singing, families coming together, and deeply believing that a Savior is born. Merry Christmas!