Meanderings

Maybe Christmas … Perhaps … Means a Little Bit More

Perhaps this Internet rumor has made
it to your home this year.  A woman was talking to her nephew just
after Christmas.  In a very apologetic way she said, "I’m
sorry you don’t like my Christmas gift, but I asked you if you
preferred a small check or a large one."  With his head hung in
disappointment, the nephew replied, "Yeah, I know, but I didn’t
think you were talking about ties."

Dashing to the Stuff-Mart to pick up
that one present for that family friend who invited themselves over
for dinner, proving to your spouse that the best bargains are only
available late afternoon on Christmas Eve, wrapping presents at
midnight hoping to be in bed by the time Saint Nick shows up … are
these a few of your favorite things?

Or are you a checked my list twice
by the week after Thanksgiving to make sure every gift had been
chosen, do you pick up Christmas presents throughout the year, are
you sitting there smugly saying to yourself “I get to enjoy today
because I am finished,” … are these a few of your favorite
things?

One of my favorite things is to say
“Quirinius” on Christmas Eve.

In those days a
decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be
registered.  This was the first registration and was taken while
Quirinius was governor of Syria.  All went to their own towns to be
registered.  Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to
Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was
descended from the house and family of David.  He went to be
registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a
child.  While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her
child.  And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in
bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place
for them in the inn (Luke 2:1-7).

The following is a retelling of Leo
Tolstoy’s Martin the Cobbler.

Martin the cobbler was a godly man
who made shoes in his humble shop.  One night the cobbler dreamed
that the next day Jesus was coming to his shop.

He got up early the next morning and
went to the woods to gather green boughs to decorate his shop in
order to receive so great a guest.  He waited all morning and the
only thing that happened was that an old man shuffled up, asking to
rest.  Martin saw that his shoes were worn through, so he brought the
man in. "I’ll give you a new pair of shoes," he said and
put on the old man the sturdiest shoes in the shop before sending him
on his way.

He waited through the afternoon and
the only happening was that an old woman under a heavy load of
firewood came by.  She was weary and, out of compassion, Martin
brought her in and gave her some of the food he had prepared for his
special, anticipated guest.  She ate with relish, for she was hungry.
Refreshed, she went on her way.

As night came a lost child, crying
bitterly, into his shop.  The cobbler was annoyed by the child’s
presence, because he felt it necessary to leave his shop and take the
child to his home.  As he returned to his shop he was convinced that
he had missed his Lord.  Sadly, he sat down, and in his imagination
he lived through the moments with Jesus as he imagined they might
have been.  He thought to himself, "What a great time it could
have been."

Martin cried, "Why is it, Lord
that your feet have delayed in coming? Have you forgotten that this
was the day?"  Then softly in the silence a voice was heard:
Lift up your heart for I kept my word.  Three times I came to your
friendly door; three times my shadow was on your floor.  I was a
beggar with bruised feet; I was the woman you gave to eat; I was the
child on the homeless street.

I think Dr. Suess’ Grinch said it best as he pondered
Christmas joy:

And the Grinch,
with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and
puzzling: "How could it be so?"

"It came
without ribbons! It came without tags!"
"It came without
packages, boxes or bags!"

And he puzzled
three hours, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of
something he hadn’t before!

"Maybe
Christmas," he thought, "doesn’t come from a store."
"Maybe
Christmas … perhaps … means a little bit more!"