The following is part of a Christmas letter that singer/songwriter George Gagliardi sends to friends and relatives every year. Not the same letter, of course, but his annual musing on Christmas is always spirit-filled and uplifting. This year, he shares some of his personal challenges from 2015 in the first part of the letter, which I won’t share for obvious reasons, but the second part of the letter just begs to be read by many people. George has given me permission to post that part.
Every Christmas is different but is it really? Is it more a question of our perspective on how we feel about Christmas in any given year or does really change from year to year?
Let’s tackle the basics – throwing out the gifts, the gatherings, the great parties and going to be with family what do we have left. Well, first off, it’s about somebody’s birthday, ostensibly. This somebody was reputed to be the Savior of the world and his name was Jesus. His coming was such a big deal that a whole multitude of angels were hired for the occasion and the lowliest (the shepherds) and most noble (Wise men) were let in on the celebration. It wasn’t much of a place to be born, if you’re supposed to be a King – a stable with smelly, dirty animals.
However, there was a star in the sky that was so bright it could be seen for miles and miles and miles. That’s the basics right – if you’re one who considers himself a believer in Jesus Christ. If not, then your version of Christmas is your version of Christmas and I wouldn’t presume to change your mind about such things in a single letter – not that I could. But if you’re a Christ-follower then what I’ve stated is more or less the basics when it comes to what Christmas is.
Okay, what about that story has changed? … that’s right, nothing. It’s timeless, it’s God-blessed, it’s forever and it’s what makes Christmas, Christmas.
So, for me, I’m going to do my darnedest to hang to on to that, to let the Spirit of that envelope me, even while I may bemoan the fact that this is not way I would have preferred to feel at Christmas. And believe me, I don’t begrudge anyone who honestly is disappointed in the way they’re feeling at Christmas as compared to past Yuletide celebrations.
But let’s all try and not lose sight of the fact that Christmas will always be Christmas as long we remember the story and what the story means and why it’s still worth singing about and sharing. In the meantime … cry if you need to, wish hard if you need to and even moan a bit even if you need to. It’s okay – at least to my mind – but let’s each and all of us hold on fast to the hope – a hope for peace and joy rooted in the forever truth that on that first Christmas “A Savior was born – Christ the Lord.”
What does Christmas, or Hanukkah, or any of the winter solstice holidays you celebrate mean to you? For me, it is always a real heart-to-heart connection to the God who made us and the families we have created. I could not imagine Christmas without gathering with my kids and grand-kids. All the years we lived in Omaha, Nebraska, my husband and I would make the trip back to Texas to be with family. It was his favorite time of the year, and he loved every part of it, from the church celebrations, to the traditional Miller Lasagna Dinner, and especially finding just the perfect gifts for each member of the family.
So, as George said, I will cry because I need to. But I will also smile when I can and let my heart be filled with the spirit of the season. And I hope you have many smiles as you celebrate your Holiday.