’Twas the week after Christmas

Tue, 12/27/2005 - 4:20pm
By: The Citizen


‘Twas the week after Christmas, and all through the land I guess some were still joyful, but my life was quite bland. Weeks and weeks to get ready, then in one it’s all done. No wonder so many think the season’s no fun.

I hung decorations all around with great care, but what goes up must come down and be taken somewhere. And though I am careful, and really quite able, evergreen needles will be found till late April.

I received lots of cards, but the prettiest by far came from the gouging old guy who fixes my car. It has a flag and a manger and Santa there kneeling. “It’s time for an oil change,” the old elf says with feeling.

The card from my grandmother stirred a few sniffles, but my old college friend wrote six pages of drivel. (Her daughter’s a genius, her son strong and tall; her family’s so perfect, I get sick from it all.)

Maybe it was me or maybe the season, but I was feeling quite blue, whatever the reason. The bills will come in before the tree’s even out! Something was missing; of that there’s no doubt.

But wait! What’s this? One more card in the pile — I was about to add it to the circular file. But this one caught my eye on this day.

It stopped me and told me it had something to say.

The words leapt from the page and gave me a start. They flew ‘round the room, then straight to my heart. “Hope,” “joy,” “good will,” “peace,” “love” and “God’s Grace” — For the first time all week I found a smile on my face.

The words gathered themselves and told me a story. As I read, they sang of God’s wonder and glory. They told of young Mary and her new baby boy; they sang of shepherds and angels and good news of great joy.

Then there in the refuse of a Christmas just passed, I discovered the heart of the season at last. Emmanuel, they call him — “God with us,” it means — at New Year and Christmas and times in-between.

And wonder is found when we share that good news, whether at work or at play or on Sunday in pews. God’s love comes to all in Mary’s young boy, and his love is our hope, and his hope is our joy.

And that joy is reason to love and to share, to notice a neighbor and show that we care, to offer the gift not bought in a store. When we get it and give it, we get even more.

So, my wishes for you through bad gifts and good, through all the bills and the stuff underfoot, through all the ads and the cheesy best wishes, through all the heartburn and reheated dishes:

A Merry Christmas today, Merry Christmas tomorrow. Merry Christmas in joy, in laughter, in sorrow. Love is the good news and kindness the song. Sing it and share it the whole year long.

Mark Westmoreland is the senior minister at Fayetteville First United Methodist Church, having been appointed there in June of this year. From 1993-98 he served as editor of The Wesleyan Christian Advocate, the official newspaper for United Methodists in Georgia.

login to post comments