“The Year Without a Santa Claus”

There was a cartoon with that title some years ago. It had to do with Santa catching a cold and his doctor, thinking no one cared anymore about Christmas anyway, advises him to take a break from his yearly work.

A bit shaken by the doctor’s attitude toward Christmas, Santa decides to take that holiday, but still sends a couple elves to find out if people believed in Santa Claus. Mishaps ensue (it is a cartoon, after all), but the “Spirit of Christmas” prevails and Santa ends up delivering toys as usual around the world.

This past year was nearly a “year without a Christmas”— one Advent Sunday lost to a snowstorm, the Children’s Christmas Pageant postponed, even some concern Christmas Eve services might be scotched because of these bad weather patterns (at press time, who knows?!).

But what if there really were a Year Without a Christmas? No tree, no lights and tinsel, no incessant holiday songs on the radio (well, maybe that would be OK…!), none of the festivity or the rush or the gaiety or the hectic times.

A lot of comments, pro and con, can be made of the way the world celebrates Christmas nowadays. Yet of course, THE first “Christmas” had none of it — some hectic times, to be sure, but none of it to celebrate the birth of some peasant kid born inside a barn.

But that is the very heart of Christmas, apart from all the decorations and revelry that’s been set up around it. A poor infant lying in a feed trough, a nobody born to no one in a nowhere land . . . a Savior come from humble stock to be the world’s redeemer, God entering human form to experience life at our most basic level.

Whether you do celebrate this Christmas with all its trimmings…or whether griefs or addictions or broken relationships or worries about the future or the everyday burdens of life make it only too hard to be Merry and Bright, the Christ Child is born to be with you, to understand your need, to bring healing and strength, to be God With Us throughout our lives.

Blessed Christmas to All!

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