The Rev. Janice Ford, Rector
The Church of the Reconciliation (Episcopal)
Webster, MA www.reconciliationweb.org
Most of us have heard the Christmas song, “We need a little Christmas,” by Jerry Herman. It’s actually from the play, “Mame,” and its upbeat tempo, easy lyrics and sweet sentiment make it a Christmas favorite for many. The message in the song is simple. Christmas typically brings out the best in people, and at any given moment, we all “need a little Christmas” to make life bearable. In the play, Auntie Mame sings, “For I’ve grown a little leaner, grown a little colder, grown a little sadder, grown a little older, and I need a little angel sitting on my shoulder. I need a little Christmas now.”
I doubt that any would argue that we all need a little Christmas now more than ever. True, the hallmarks of Christmas—the fun, food, decorations, gifts, etc.—are what most of us think help us to forget about our troubles even if only for a couple of short weeks. The reality is that the kind of Christmas we need right now is the one that came in the form of a tiny, peasant child who would change the world forever—not just for a few weeks, but forever.
Daily I find myself aching over the troubles of this world—hunger, violence, war, disease, and the day-to-day mean spiritedness that seems to have permeated right down to the youngest of our children. Christmas decorations, special treats, Christmas carols, a once-a-year trip to church, and, oh, yes, plenty of gifts we probably don’t need, are not likely to alleviate any of those troubles. They serve only to distract us for a very brief time.
For anyone who seeks it, however, there is lasting good news--the Good News that Christ was born in Bethlehem, the Savior and Redeemer of the world—“wonderful, counselor, mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Celebrating the birth of Jesus is not just a momentary distraction. Jesus is the only real hope for this world, and hope is what we need so desperately. We need a little Christmas because it reminds us that Jesus is in the world—through us--attempting to feeding the hungry, stem violence and war, heal the sick, and touch the hearts and minds of our children. We need a little Christmas because it reminds us that the power to do good can come from places we least expect, and we need a little Christmas because it reminds us that Jesus’ birth led to the sacrifice he made for us through his death and resurrection which brought salvation for all.
May we all receive the little bit of Christmas each one of us needs in order to face what awaits us in the coming year, and may the God of hope live within us each and every day.