God walked down the stairs of heaven with a Baby in His arms.
It has been many, many Scrooge-like years since I subscribed to the idea that "Jesus is the reason for the season." He is not. He never asked to be. The God of the world is not particularly interested in a birthday party and, I think, He may occassionally blush with embarassment at the excess and pomp that His church spends on attempting to turn a glaringly commercial event into an acknowledgement of His great gift to the world.
He is, on the other hand, interested in reconciling with His created ones. He is interested in connecting with individuals who, caught up in the stresses and busyness of the remaining eleven months of the year, cannot see or hear Him. And so all of that pomp and excess (One worship leader that I talked to this weekend was recently given a budget of $15, 000.00 to put a church program together!) is not without purpose, without value.
As a friend and I worked this issue over in the early stages of this Christmas season, I was reminded of the kindness of a God who willingly meets with people who reach out to Him ~~ whenever they reach out to Him. For some, this is the only season in which they can connect emotionally with the Maker. He is a distant and silent God to so many. To so many. Through the familiarity and tenderness of this time, they can feel God. Some are privy to the everyday speaking and correcting and whispering of God, but some people never sense Him. And through all of the tradition of this time, they have a feeling that they can attribute to Him being near.
That softening, that outward reaching toward a loving Savior, shows itself in generosity toward each other and care for those less fortunate ~~ the reinacting of the central nature of the God who is Love, even by those who do not claim to know Him well.
So, while the Ebeneezer in me cannot accept that this season was set by God or for God, I gratefully celebrate that God is with us and that He quickly reaches toward those who, in this small window of time, are reaching toward Him.
Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love. ~ Hamilton Mabie