Christmas is less than a week away. As we approach the fourth Sunday of advent, as a Christian, I have been reminded to prepare by lighting weekly candles of Hope, Peace, Love, and Joy. The center candle to be lit to represent the birth of Christ.
As, I recognize religion creates discomfort, conjures up doubts, and is not a source of meaning or solace for all. Some have experiences and justifications to turn away from church teachings altogether.
Regardless, it is nearly impossible to escape the secular Jesus. He is found on lamppost decorations in city’s big and small, outdoor light displays on every evening drive, retail’s enticements for gift giving and decorating, carols on most radio stations, holiday shows ranging from The Rockettes at Rockefeller Center to little Johny’s “We Wish you a Merry Christmas” from a school gym, work place potlucks and secret Santa, reruns of classics such as “A Miracle on 34th Street,” “A Christmas Story,” and “Elf.”
This season brings collective time off and gatherings. Maybe there is not a prayer or church service or even a meal around December 25th for you. Yet, my sincere hope is you can mingle, exchange mirth, and find meaning.
Mingle, a verb, to become mixed, blended, or united. To associate or mix in company. To take part with others; participate.
It is tempting to skip, to cut out early, to lay low. I encourage you to resist the quiet of solitude, though appealing, and say yes to invitations or send out some of your own.
Mirth, in context, is the emotional experience of humor. It is the gaiety or jollity accompanied by laughter. It is simple amusement. When we dare to mingle, we find mirth in those around us.
Meaning, literally, is what is intended to be, or actually is, expressed or indicated.
I dare you to find meaning this Christmas season. I suggest you lighten up with some heavy eggnog and find spirit in collective joy. We may not all experience it, but this time of year, we can recognize it all around us — the faces of children, the sound of carolers, the smell of baking, the greeting cards in the mail, the hustle and bustle of list making and checking it off. Christmas doesn’t mean Christ’s birth for everyone, and I’d argue that the Christian truth is not the only reason for the season.
It is a season of love.
Embrace. Rejoice. Cheers.