As Christmas approaches, we are mindful of the many thousands disaster victims and refugees who are not experiencing a family Christmas as they anticipated. Circumstances have forced a new kind of Christmas but not one outside the blessing of God, recalling that the Holy Family ended up as displaced refugees in Egypt, bereft of home and comfort. For our modern day victims it will be less settled, perhaps show less abundance as energies are directed elsewhere, funds normally used for gifts rerouted to necessities instead.
As difficult as it is, there is a freshness in other circumstances when Christmas is less cluttered and more to the point of what the holy season means. While there is great majesty in orchestral arrangements of the great Christmas carols sometimes it is more moving to hear a solitary voice imperfectly sing the words of “Silent Night.” The memorized lyrics of “Joy to the World” sound different when sung by people who very well could sing, “Joy to My World” because of the difference Christ has made since the last Christmas came and went. There is a quiet beauty in watching someone silently studying a nativity scene, carefully examining each piece in its turn, to focus finally on the Christchild. The hush of a Christmas moment stills the soul even though outside the world lay in twisted ruins.
How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may hear His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still,
The dear Christ enters in. - Philip Brooks