At times in life the fog and opaqueness of ordinary routines lifts, if only momentarily, and our experiences are illuminated with fresh meaning. Such moments can change life in a powerful way. These moments are like the wispy strands of a spider's web - we must grasp them, or they may slip away and escape. The Christmas holidays are often laced with such moments.
Traditions and rituals interrupt the flow of ordinary life. While most people anticipate the celebration of Christmas, not everyone enters into the joy of the season. For whatever reason, the holidays may be accompanied by annoying intruders: sadness, grief, perhaps even anger. The glow of the glitter is tarnished by the unwelcome feelings that sights and sounds of the impending festivities may trigger.
Have you ever wondered what kind of memories Mary, the mother of Jesus, had when she reflected over her life?
Our perception of Christmas may be beautiful lights and music, gifts and gatherings. A Christmas Eve service with Scripture readings and carols helps us consider the significance of Christ's birth. For Mary, marking her Son's birth was probably quite unlike our modern Christmas celebrations. She must have faced strong recollections of painful travel, the anxiety of homelessness, and the bewildering experience of those who surrounded her only hours after her delivery. Perhaps Mary even remembered that day with a mixture of joy and sadness.
Without doubt, however, Mary's memory must have truly focused on the significance of her Son's life, death, and resurrection, as she grew older. In those moments, Christendom's first Christmas took on transformational power.
In this issue you will find the message and meaning of Christmas articulated in fresh ways. You will discover insights for understanding those who may not share the ubiquitous invitation to "holiday cheer."
As you read and reflect, I hope you will discover the truth that lies behind the trappings and wrappings of another holiday season. Indeed, may you enjoy a merry, blessed Christmas!
David J. Felter, Editor in chief
Holiness Today, November/December 2005