Thursday, December 22, 2022

Finding and Feeling the Christmas Spirit

Finding and Feeling the Christmas Spirit
Darrel L. Hammon
December 22, 2022

It’s three days before Christmas, and there is a chill in the air, snow on the ground with a potential of snow next week after Christmas, and our tree has been up and decorated since just after Thanksgiving.

 This past week I visited with someone who told me that they did not feel the Christmas spirit and asked how they could feel it. For me, the Christmas spirit has come in a variety of ways. I can say, though, that some years, it was more challenging to feel the Christmas spirit, but it came in some way.

Let me suggest five ways although there are so many, many more. Some of them may help you as you ponder Christmas to ultimately find and feel the Christmas spirit.

Think of others before you think of yourself.
Isn’t Christmas about giving and being with others? I have noticed that people like themselves a lot, spending time just being on the phones and in their rooms alone, not necessarily wanting to associate with other people. While I understand that feeling to some degree, I sincerely believe that to capture the Christmas spirit, we must climb out of our shells a bit, maybe more than a bit, and think of others, maybe take your family, friends, and/or neighbors something. Giving isn’t always about buying or making something, although that is a nice thing to do. It’s about the very act of going beyond and extending yourselves in ways that you do not normally do and then continuing that practice for the rest of the year.

Go out and play in the snow.
This is a challenging one for those of you who live in places where there is no snow. For me, I grew up in eastern Idaho, and, more often than not, we had lots of snow, usually new snow on Christmas morning. My Christmas spirit comes when I walk out to fresh snow in the yard or the field, plop down, and make a snow angel. As I get older, it becomes increasingly more challenging, trying to get up without ruining the angel, but if you do it right, you can look back at the perfect snow angel and remember the heavenly host singing songs of joy when Christ was born in Bethlehem. If you don’t have snow, you cannot look at pictures that have snow in them or even paint a snowy scene.

 Sit in front of the Christmas tree, contemplate each ornament, and think of what each one means to you.
I love doing this. We really do not have bulbs from the store on the tree. Joanne, my dear wife, has made many of the ornaments we have. We have a picture of children when they were young. As we have traveled, we have purchased ornaments from that particular country or place. Some of the ornaments were given to us as gifts through the years. Every one of them has a story, and we like to relive the sacred story every Christmas. Often, as we look at each ornament, reminisce where it came from, or who gave it to us, we shed tears of joy and happiness, remembering how some of them came to be.

Read the Christmas story through the eyes of Luke in the New Testament (see Luke 2:1-20).
Few things touch my heart more than reading about the babe in Bethlehem, the shepherds watching their flocks by night, the angel arriving with his good tidings, the heavenly host praising God and singing, the humble shepherds rushing to see the new-born babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. The moment they arrived, these humble shepherds knew it was their Lord, Jesus Christ, and they were more than willing to glorify and praise God for all that they had seen and heard. That Christmas story has such great power!

Watch Christmas Videos
When you think of this you may think of all the Hallmark movies. While those may inject a bit of the Christmas spirit, I am talking videos about the sacred Christmas story—how Mary talked to an angel who foretold of the birth of Jesus, how the shepherds came to the manger and witnessed this great event, and how the three wise men came with their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. You can go here to see a couple of them:
 "The Christ Child" (My favorite) 
 “Angel foretells of Christ’s birth to Mary”

Write about your best Christmas memory.
I don’t know about you, but we have had some incredible Christmas memories. One I remember was when I was younger, we had to do chores before we could open presents. On our way outside, we detoured through the living room where the tree and all the presents were. Outside, we noticed sleigh tracks coming off the roof of our house, skidding across our yard on the fresh snow, and then disappearing. My brothers and I just looked at each other, much surprised. Even to this day, I do not know how they came to be. I can only imagine that Santa had come, flown to the top of our house, dropped down into our house through the chimney, and then raced off without a word. The key to remembering these memories and keeping them alive is reaching out to those who were in the memory and talking about the role they played in the memory and what it meant to you.

These five ways to spark the Christmas spirit in you may have helped you conjure up even more, so write them down, relive them, and let the Christmas spirit well up within you, especially now during this Christmas season but also for the rest of the year.

I believe the Christmas spirit can be within us always—if we allow it and remember it’s a wonderful and refreshing feeling.

Merry Christmas to all!


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