Editorial – A Perfect Christmas
Eight inches of snow had fallen three days earlier and another four inches were to fall this Christmas Day. The temperature was in the low twenties (comfortable due to a lack of wind); the descending flakes enhanced an already beautiful landscape. All of the sights associated with Christmas were gathered vividly around my brother's house. Joyfully burdened with bundles, I entered a festive family scene. Warm greetings floated my way, matching the overall enticements of the conversations and comestibles. Later in the day, a similar experience was had at the home of friends. Returning to my room that night, I could not have asked for a better Christmas celebration.
What makes for a perfect Christmas? The answer lies within each person's own heart. If I were to seek a consensus on the question, I suppose that the response would include such as: beautiful music at the Church service, a white Christmas, everyone getting along peacefully, friends and family really enjoying being together, all of the traditional foods and beverages tasting delicious, everyone receiving presents that actually pleased them. I am sure that each of us can make numerous additions to that list.
Perfection denotes completeness, purity, possessing all that is essential or necessary. The perfect Christmas is an annual ideal sought by each of us, but Christmas per se achieved perfection the very first time. One time staff writer for the New York Times, Lucinda Franks wrote in her December, 1984 article "Pilgrimage:"
Christmas in Bethlehem. The ancient dream: a cold, clear night made brilliant by a glorious star, the smell of incense, shepherds and wise men falling to their knees in adoration of the sweet baby, the incarnation of perfect love.
The idea of the "incarnation" and "perfect love" awakens in the thoughtful special insights into Christmas. Perfect love is the stuff of heaven, the signature description of heavenly bliss, and the shinning horizon from the Purgatorial viewpoint. The perfect quality of that love is so all-encompassing that one may depict Heaven as a place where anything that is not love cannot exist. Thus, the possibility of perfect love being found on this planet infested with imperfect and insincere expressions of love is highly remote at best. Yet, the essential aspect of "incarnation" in that which is Christmas must give us pause. The perfect love of God was infused into human nature. In Jesus Christ - God and man - the impossible becomes possible. And not only that! One might imagine, even presume, that the quest for that perfect love may be endeavored by us all.
Given this consideration, the topic of the perfect Christmas demands more thought. All those events and sensory experiences that have been delineated at the top this article concerning the perfection of a Christmas celebration now become more fanciful and symptomatic. The question is: "If in Christ God and man can exist as one, can God exist in us too?" There is only one Jesus Christ. There can be, however, an unlimited number of those who can be Christ-like. One of the most miraculous aspects of Christ being born into the world is that Christ can be born into us. Maybe the perfect Christmas on this earth is not the measure of the peace and love we see shared by others around us, but the quantity and quality of the peace and love that is generated from within us.
Each Christmas can be as perfect as we can make it. At this Christmas day's end, may our heads come to rest in warm surroundings and may our thoughts come to dwell on the love we have given. Have a perfect Christmas!