Hespeler, 4 December, 2016 © Scott McAndless – Communion
Luke 6:37-45, Psalm 72:1-7, 18,19, Deuteronomy 15:7-11
hat was the best Christmas dinner that you ever had? How would you describe it to me? I bet that if we were to put that question out as a general survey, we would get a great variety of answers. Some would speak of dinners from long ago, even from when they were small. Others would speak of one from recent memory. You would hear of menus and guest lists and decorations.
But if you really pressed people to say what made it truly special, they would go beyond speaking of those things. They would start to speak of something very hard to describe: a warmth, a sparkle, a glow that somehow made the gathering that special – the kind of thing that is hard to pin down but that makes all the difference.
It would be much the same thing if I were to ask you to describe to me your very best memory of a Christmas morning. There would be some who would focus on the presents that you received or perhaps that you gave. Others would focus on the people who were there, but most would talk about something that gave a special shine to everything that happened.
That thing – that undefinable quality – is what is sometimes called the Christmas Spirit or even the magic of Christmas. It is a shared attitude that somehow has the ability to take fairly ordinary things – food, interactions, words – and make them truly exceptional. I am sure that every single one of us has felt that Christmas spirit at least one time or another, but we would be hard pressed to describe it exactly or to force it to appear when we wanted it to.
There have been various attempts to portray this Christmas Spirit down through the years. Sometimes I think that, more than anything, that is what Santa Claus is – an attempt to draw a picture of Christmas Spirit. But, as much as I love Santa and what he represents, I think that someone else actually succeeded better in portraying what it is all about: Charles Dickens.
In his classic tale, A Christmas Carol, the secon