Christmas for me is bittersweet.
I love the symbolism of the Christ child. I mean, let’s face it, by now we pretty much all know that December 25th isn’t literally the birthday of Jesus. But, I love the concept of love, God’s love, the most pure and powerful love in the world, coming to us in a manger. A place of ordinary, dirty animals.
I love this imagery because it gives me hope that in my most depraved, selfish, self-delusional moments, God is right there loving me. God is not bothered by the stink of my selfishness or the filth of my delusions or the commonness of my small life. He’s right there, shining brightly, transforming my darkest, smallest moments with his presence.
The second image of Christmas that I adore is that of the magi. The three wise men that follow the star in search of a prophesied king. Far from their homes and everything they know, in the bitter cold of the barren desert, and let’s face it how comfortable can it be, really, to ride on the back of a camel? Yet, they follow this ball of light in the night sky and keep searching. Keep believing that they’ll find the king of kings. And, when they’re led to a child in a manger with his peasant mother and father, they drop right to their knees and enter bearing their greatest treasures.
So, when four people as big as Santa who smell like the old guy’s reindeer block the entrance of Walmart while they sit in those clever scooter carts and argue over who’s turn it is to buy the cigarettes while the Salvation Army guy rings and rings and rings that bell, well, at moments like those I do my very best to believe that God loves us all right in the middle of our tiny, stinking lives. I try my best to focus on the star of faith.
And, ever a writer,
I decide that if I ever write a modern adaptation of the nativity, I’m going to have Jesus born in a Walmart.