As we enter into Christmas and out of a time of waiting, I sat here thinking about my feelings towards the meaning of Christmas. Traditionally, Christmas meant spending extra time with family, hectic holiday shopping, and sharing fun conversations around a perfectly decorated table while consuming the most delicious meal prepared with love. As the children’s choir wrapped up yet another pageant rehearsal, and the room cleared, one of the songs was stuck on repeat in my head, ‘Running Out of Room’. The first part of the chorus that is repeated several times throughout the piece states… ‘we’re running out of room for Christmas!’ This got me thinking… hmmm, are we so preoccupied with the shopping, cooking, waiting, preparing, wrapping (the list goes on) that we are not saving room, and time, for the true meaning of the season? Do we find ourselves, overbooked and out of time as we draw closer and closer to Christmas?
This past Saturday Gabe and myself, along with several of our youth, and my Aunt, had the privilege to go caroling at a hospice facility in Pasadena. Most of the residents are terminally ill and do not often receive visitors, let alone singing visitors with hand chimes. We set up our music stands and chimes in the main lobby as our audience arrived in wheel chairs one by one. Some ecstatic to see us, others were non-responsive, and we began with O Little Town of Bethlehem. We played for about 45 minutes. Every so often I would glance up to catch someone’s eye, and a wave of emotion would come over me. But, it was not until we sang ‘Silent Night’, my favorite traditional hymn (especially when sung at COS in the dark church on Christmas Eve) did I have to stop singing and take a moment to gather myself. In that moment, I was filled with joy, sadness and humility. Joy, because I could see the joy our music brought to people that needed it, sadness because it pains me to see those who are not at peace or who are hurting, and humility, because at that moment it was clear that there was much more to Christmas then I had ever imagined.
To me, Christmas is a time to think of others, care for those who are helpless, and a time to consider how your life would be different if you were placed in the shoes of a stranger.
This Christmas, I urge you to ask yourself, ‘Are You Saving Room for Christmas?’ if not, how can you take time, to make time, for the things beyond the traditional hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Make this Christmas memorable by giving a gift that can’t be contained in a wrapped box.