I mailed the annual Christmas cards on Thursday. Because my husband and I grew up in Texas, I primarily send cards out to family and friends who are far away and don’t see us very often. In addition to those out-of-town loved ones, I send cards to people in the area whom we don’t see on a day to day basis. Each day in December, I look forward to the trip to the mailbox where I will often find a card from a friend from high school or college. I love to see how their kids have grown and changed since last year’s card. Sometimes I hold up the picture for Steve and have him guess which of our friends belong to these particular smiling cherubs.
For the past several years, I have included a picture and a letter with our card. Because I enjoy the pictures that I get, I assume that others might want to see our family as well. In the past couple of years, I shared something that I have heard or read that mattered to me….something that speaks to the heart of what Christmas means to me. One year it was the lyrics to a Christmas song; this year I shared an excerpt from a Christmas sermon by Frederick Buechner. Here are the words I shared this year:
In this child born on Christmas, in the man he grew up to be, there is the power of God to bring light into our darkness, to make us whole, to give a new kind of life to anybody who turns toward Him in faith, even to such as you and me.
…so what is left to us then is the greatest question of them all. How do we know whether or not this truth is true? How do we find out for ourselves whether in this child born so long ago there really is the power to give us a new kind of life in which both suffering and joy are immeasurably deepened, a new kind of life in which little by little we begin to be able to love even our friends, at moments maybe even our enemies, maybe at last even ourselves, even God?
Adeste fidelis. That is the only answer I know for people who want to find out whether or not this true. Come all ye faithful, and all ye who would like to be faithful if only you could, all ye who walk in darkness and hunger for light. Have faith enough, hope enough, despair enough, foolishness enough at least to draw near to see for yourselves.
Adeste fidelis. Come and behold Him, born the king of angels. Speak to Him or be silent before Him. In whatever way seems right to you and at whatever time, come to Him with your empty hands. The great promise is that to come to Him who was born at Bethlehem is to find coming to birth within ourselves something stronger and braver, gladder and kinder and holier, than ever we knew before or than ever we could have known without Him.
Something stronger and braver, gladder and kinder and holier than we could ever know without Him…isn’t that so true? Lost within the rush, hidden within the noise, those are the promises of Christmas for those who will come closer and see for themselves. As Psalm 34 tells us, we must “taste and see that the Lord is Good.” Come and see for yourself!