By Lisa Whaley
I have a confession to make: I’m a little nutty about Christmas.
I love the sparkling lights, both white and brightly colored. I love a real Christmas tree, with its rich woodsy fragrance.
Come December, I drive my family slightly crazy with a constant stream of Christmas carols from morn ’til night. And I love, love pretty packages stacked beneath the aforementioned tree.
But this weekend I was reminded of an important holiday detail.
Sometimes, the meaning for the celebration ends up getting lost in all that glitter.
Those wise words — or something like them — were spoken by Steve Rice, pastor of Lighthouse Baptist Church in Unicoi where my family and I were guests this past Sunday. They were shared at the close of a very special Christmas presentation titled “Tennessee Christmas – A Night of Miracles.”
The play, created by Sharon Mason and Damaris Higgins, told the story of a group of holiday travelers stranded at the Nashville airport on Christmas eve.
But while there may have been lots of faces on the stage, it soon became the story of each of us in the audience.
There was the business man, frantic to close the deal and much too busy to savor the season; the woman traveling to see her family, carrying somber health news like a shroud to dampen the joy; the young mother and her two children, facing what she saw as the first of many Christmases without her estranged husband; the ex-con, afraid to return home to his family he was sure would reject him; and a young woman eager to experience her Tennessee Christmas at home with her folks, yet still carrying an unshakable faith in a savior.
Busyness. Loneliness. Unworthiness. Fear. Marching through the season like a somber holiday procession, yet still decked out in sparkles, glistens and bows.
And with each step, the purpose behind our Christmas celebration becomes a bit more removed. We soon forget why we’re celebrating at all.
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” [Isaiah 7:14]
Perhaps it’s time to remember — that story of a savior born and a gift of forgiveness.
In the play above, each struggling traveler began to see beyond the glitz, glitter and craziness of the season and into the true heart of Christmas and the deep love it represents.
I can think of no better gift for all of us this holiday season.