Looking out my window after our snowfall, this is what I saw.
It reminded me of that very difficult balance in our Christmas celebrations. It certainly looked like a "Winter Wonderland" out there--so beautiful! But there was the cross front and center, demanding to be remembered in the rush of holiday preparations.
Presbyterian poet Ann Weems wrote a poem entitled "The Cross in the Manger." It includes these reflections:
"If there is no cross in the manger, there is no Christmas.
If the Babe doesn't become the Adult, there is no Bethlehem star...
If there is no room in our inn,
then "Merry Christmas" mocks the Christ Child,
and the Holy Family is just a holiday card,
and God will loathe our feasts and festivals...
If there is no forgiveness in us, there is no cause for celebration.
If we cannot go now even unto Golgotha, there is no Christmas in us.
If Christmas is not NOW, if Christ is not born into the everyday present,
then what is all the NOISE about?"
We celebrate the birth of Jesus who is called "Emmanuel" (which in Hebrew means "God-with-us"). This is the One who is with us in our joy, and in our sorrow, and the One who brings us salvation. A blessed Christmas to you!