The Christmas holiday season can be difficult for everyone. Flu bugs abound, colds land at unexpected times, all kinds of deadlines loom, finding the right present for the special person in your life can be elusive, and then there is all we think Christmas should and does represent.
As a kid growing up, I always remember the season with fondness. I cannot remember one with snow and we rarely had many presents. The best thing was finding that one gift for family members with their “name” boldly yet invisibly written. Price was not relevant; the fact that someone chose it especially and just for them was crucial. Often, it was the inexpensive things scoring the best hits. This was our concrete way of sharing the spirit of Christmas for people we deeply cared for.
England celebrates Christmas with lots of parties, celebration, and shopping. Materialism is alive and well; perhaps it is a disease inflicting the world far more deeply than anyone realizes. As I reflect on the spirit and spirits that seem to be all around I find people trying to share the touch of Christmas just like we did when we were kids.
Paul in his letter to Rome church was clearly trying to convey his feelings and emotions. He had expressed his concerns and his hopes and as began his closing he remembered all those who had touched his life earlier. He wanted to give them a sense of his love so he left them with one instruction; “Holy embraces all around!” (Romans 16.16)
What a great idea! So here is what I want you to do; find a special person in your life, give them a big hug, and let them know that my best wishes for a great holiday season come with the embrace. Do it today and again everyday right through Christmas and the New Year! God wants to touch each of us and remind us of the special gift he has already prepared. Embracing what God has done for us is the best thing we can do for him.