Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
About a month ago, I saw an article that showed a fleet of ships anchored off the California coast with the question, “Is this the Grinch that will steal Christmas?” Of course, the article was about what is on those ships, including toys, Christmas decorations, electronics, etc., all of which should be much closer to the shelves of stores for Christmas sales. Indeed, the shelves are more sparsely stocked this year.
Anyone who has read the book on the Grinch would realize that while he could deny the gifts, decorations, and meal to the people, Christmas itself could not be stolen. That is why, in an odd way, I do not think a less well stocked Christmas is so bad. It might help us realize that Christmas is not about things; it is about Christ’s birth. The side items are aids in celebration but not the holiday itself. For the one whose Christmas is ruined by not having a verion 103.6 of their favorite video game, we say, “But Christ was born just the same.” To one whose inflatable Santa is still bobbing in the Pacific, “There is still joy to the world.”
Last year at Christmas, we were in a second COVID shutdown. But out in the wind and rain in the parking lot, we still celebrated Christmas. Far from the Christmases we fondly set in our minds as celebrations as they should be, it will be a particular Christmas I will remember. It was still Christmas, and perhaps even truer to the first Christmas without a room or proper cradle.
Right now, I can tell the stores are not as fully stocked as usual, but I also do not see dangerous scarcity either. We are not clear of the COVID disease, yet we will be able to worship more sheltered this year. Most importantly, Christ is still among us, and his birth still rings in our hearts. Let us open our eyes to the true center.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Martin Horn