Christmas is often described as a magical time, but I think the word “transcendent” might be more appropriate. Our souls can be lifted through experiences of the divine that we weren’t expecting. Consider the story of Pennsylvania mom Sarah Robsdotter and her six young sons, who were at Story Hour in the local library a few weeks before Christmas when the librarian invited the kids to play “Show and Tell.”
Robsdotter’s youngest dug into his pocket looking for something to “show,” but found only lint. Then, the second-oldest boy, August, said, “Let’s sing them the Gloria.” Robsdotter held her baby, while the other boys stood up and sang the hymn/prayer, “Gloria in excelsis Deo.” And they sang it all in Latin because they had learned it that way from a YouTube video, in order to perform it for their parish priest. Now, they had a new audience. Here at Aleteia, Robsdotter wrote that she caught the grumpy librarian smiling, and another woman “clasped her hands as if she were in line for Communion.”
Robsdotter concluded, “As toddlers thumped books off shelves on that damp Tuesday afternoon, a Light broke through the fog at the sound of my sons’ singing – the extraordinary interrupted the ordinary as my boys worshiped with the saints and angels in heaven…Young as they are, God used them to carry His Light into the world.”
Swedish sisters Annis and Emma Lindkvist brought God’s love and light into the world in their own unique way. During a trip to Scotland last December, the two stopped to ask a beggar, Jimmy Fraser, for directions. When the sisters realized that the 54-year-old divorced father of two had nowhere to spend Christmas, they not only invited him to spend the holiday with their family in Scandinavia, they paid for his airfare and passport.
During his stay, Jimmy went everywhere with the Lindkvist family – a hockey game, the Christmas market, and midnight Mass. He told the BBC, “This was an incredible act of kindness and I loved meeting Annis’ friends, family and colleagues.”
Those are just a couple of examples of the love and kindness that gets shared during the Advent and Christmas season. And in this age when we Americans seem divided by so many things, they are necessary reminders to love all our neighbors as we love ourselves.
It begs the question asked by Elvis on one of my favorite Christmas albums, “Why Can’t Every Day Be Like Christmas?”
Author Henry van Dyke, who wrote the classic novel The Other Wise Man and many other Christmas stories, once addressed that very issue, noting that the holiday spirit could live every day of the year. He wrote, “Are you willing to believe that love is the strongest thing in the world – stronger than hate, stronger than evil, stronger than death – and that the blessed life which began in Bethlehem … (all those) years ago is the image and brightness of Eternal Love? Then you can keep Christmas. And if you keep it for a day, why not always?”
Henry van Dyke was right. Why not keep the light of love and hope that is the heart of Christmas burning from one end of the year to the other? If you do, you’ll have cause to celebrate the joy of each new day, each new opportunity God gives you.
All of us at The Christophers pray that you experience that transcendent love and hope this Christmas and beyond.