My favorite oldies radio station started playing Christmas music 24 hours a day starting the day after Thanksgiving and is continuing until the day after Christmas. I never realized that there are so many bad Christmas songs and dreadful arrangements of wonderful carols. When I arrived home recently after listening for 30 minutes while driving, I came in muttering “Enough! I’ve had enough!” The last song had included the words, “Santa Cutie.”
I then did something you might think is strange–I immediately started listening to Christmas music. I turned on an Andre Rieu Christmas album and listened to Silent night played with character and power. I turned the volume up trying to cover up the memories of all the bad music. I needed recharging and reminding what Christmas is about.
In the midst of the “Santa Cutie” world that descends this time of the year, I look beyond and find that Christmas recharges me in a wonderful way.
My recharging always begins with the image of the manger–God’s grace. When I think about this miraculous event, I am overwhelmed with the realization of the greatness of the grace of God. That inspires me over and over. God cared enough to come himself.
I am inspired by looking back at Christmas memories as I grew up–Christmas caroling in the snow, worship and singing in the choir, being together with family.
I am inspired by Christmas memories when our children were growing up–their excitement and spirit. I have so many memories that they overflow one after another.
I am inspired by the many memories of candlelight worship services and even the snow that fell from the artificial snow machines on the roof of our church in Miami after each service.
And then I think of that special Christmas Eve when I was reminded of our calling as Christians. I am not sure how it started but at least one child and I began taking poinsettias to the hospital after the 11:00 pm Christmas Eve Service. I discovered that many poinsettias were left in the church after Christmas so with the permission of the people who were not going to pick them up, we gathered them together and delivered the plants to the staff manning the local hospital early on Christmas morning.
One morning was even more significant than usual. We had stopped at the nurses’ station on the fourth floor when one of the nurses asked if I would go visit one patient who was awake, crying because she was in the hospital on Christmas. I took an extra poinsettia into her room, gave it to her. I stood by her bed as we talked in darkness and had prayer. She grabbed my hand, pulled me down and hugged me. She squeezed me so tightly that I almost couldn’t breath. As I was leaving, she told me, “You were a gift from God.”
I never saw the woman’s face that night but her words still inspire and remind me each Christmas of how we can share God’s grace. We continue to receive the gift of the Christ Child with the knowledge that we can be a gift to others at this special time. That recharges me!
May you be recharged this Christmas to share God’s grace!