So I’m either horribly behind or horribly ahead of ye olde “power curve” here, but this morning I was thinking about 2016 as a whole: “The Christmas Spirit.” Because as much as people might try, one cardboard Santa and floppy green streamers do not a Christmas make—especially not on a warship once again careening around the ocean, tossing side to side, thousands of miles from our loved ones. Silver bells are scarce to be seen, and they don’t even sell Peppermint Mochas at Japanese Starbucks (the very nerve of them, I know).
Point being, we aren’t exactly enjoying a Hallmark affair over here.
So what, then, does Christmas really mean for us?
There are the textbook answers —> peace, love, joy, presents, parades, football, etc. I’m going to be sentimental though and go for Hope. Idealistic and naïve, yes, given world affairs/politics/impending-imminent-still-raining-down-hellfire disasters all around the world.
But think about this one: theological labyrinths aside, what does the Christ’s birth ultimately represent? Redemption. Hope for a better tomorrow beyond this “world of tears.” Forgiveness. An outpouring of Love over constantly festering wounds.
Again, easy to lump into the Hallmark/wishful thinking category. But think about your worst moments in 2016: the lowest moments, the worst pain, the most humiliation. And yet, you’re still here. You’re still trying and struggling to move forward.
A very personal question, to be sure, but I’m willing to bet it had something to do with that unsolicited helping hand in your moment of darkness.
That one person who “just happened” to be there at just the right time, who said just the right thing, who sat with you when you were hurting, who held you when you were weak. They might have been your childhood best friend or someone you stumbled across in the street. What’s important is that they were there, and they cared. And that, my friends, is what I call Grace. It doesn’t always come down in shining halos with choirs of angels and doves winging all around. It doesn’t even always seem that important.
But the slightest, smallest action we take, though it seems beyond insignificant to us, could really be what keeps a person hanging on.
I know that’s how it was for me. When I look back over the year, I recall the thumbtacks and screws, the endless mind games (and tears), yes. But far more vividly I remember all the people who supported me without hesitation. I remember their reassurance, their kindness: I remember Grace.
This year, that’s what Christmas boils down to for me.
Christ’s Birth Represents Hope.
It represents choosing to see the most divine aspects in those around us, because the Kingdom of Heaven is with us even now. Even amidst the strife, we see glimpses of this eternal light in the grace we show one another and the small, unlooked-for blessings that get us from one day to the next.
Is it cheesy? Absolutely.
But sometimes, you know, the best things in life really are.
Flickr photo by James Jordan
About Brett Beeson
Brett Beeson, officially, is a Lieutenant JG in the United States Navy, currently attached to DDG54 Curtis Wilbur out of Yokosuka, Japan. She graduated in 2014 from the United States Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science in Arabic and a minor in Spanish. Unofficially, she is the “evil twin” (one of Jory’s twin daughters), that annoying-friend-who-won’t-stop-calling perpetual questioner, ice cream enthusiast, scribbler, roarer-of-laughter, and eternal student of God’s amazing mysteries. After extensive travel in Morocco and Oman, she has become passionate about furthering her/our understanding of the Middle East and Islam. To enjoy more of Brett’s writing, please visit Randomness with Brett.