Because Christmas is the celebration of God’s greatest gift to humanity it is marked each year by the giving and receiving of gifts. We are often more extravagant in our giving – and if we’re fortunate enough to be surrounded by like-minded friends and family, in our receiving, too – than at any other time of the year. That’s appropriate, too. For Christmas is a celebration of God’s extravagant grace.
Another wonderful part of Christmas is the whole aspect of surprise. That’s obvious first in how children experience Christmas morning when they awake to find under the tree more than they expected, better than they expected. All of that really jives with the Biblical picture of Christmas, too. Because God knows us better than we know ourselves (I suspect that this idea isn’t at all hard for the readers of this blog to understand. After all, this blog is primarily poetry and, I think, the kind of poetry that sneaks up on you and awakens some feeling or memory that you did not know or had forgotten was there. Someone has rightly said that in the end we are mysteries to ourselves.)
Wow. That was a rather long parenthetical. Let me start that sentence again and complete it in one breath so it will be intelligible: Because we are mysteries to ourselves, God’s best gifts to us are surprises. And when we receive that which we did not contemplate or expect and we look on it and know that it is “far more than we could ever ask or think” we are gratified not only in the gift, but in the giver. That is, in the knowledge that someone has taken the time and effort to know us, to see us as we really are, to understand us actually better than we understand ourselves. That’s not only flattering and gratifying, it communicates and instills within us a kind of security – we know that we are at last understood and truly loved.
That brings me to the subject of this blog and to you, my readers. Writing this blog and receiving, day after day the many “likes” and comments from every corner of the world has been a wonderful and daily surprise to me. The idea that something I’ve written – some distillate of my experience – has struck a chord with someone somewhere – someone in some far-off place that I’ll never see, someone whose experience of life is very different from my own – well, that is a true joy for me, and the best kind of surprise.
Thank you, readers. May your days be merry and bright . . . .