Christmas nostalgia nestles like being all snug in our beds.
Current celebrations are extra meaningful when they magnify memories of merrier times. We are transformed to a special place in remembering when that special carol played on the radio while holding a loved one’s hand, when the aroma in the kitchen harkened Grandma’s hearth, when a tattered ornament was found once again on the tree — and memories of when it was made by small fingers and given to us to hang by a child with the widest smile on a face yielding evidence of red sugar cookies.
Our silent prayers every December are to relive the culmination of Christmas comforts. We’d be satisfied being pasted on a Norman Rockwell or Thomas Kincade print. Prayers take on urgent resolve however when the prior year or years placed a kink, rift or break from “the way things were.”
Death, divorce, estrangement, relocation, loss of income, an unanswerable crisis of faith, can alter paths that led to so much meaning. Whatever heart-warming or heart-rending nostalgia is part of your Christmas, I encourage you to interject something new into your observances. Nostalgia can be limiting; an addition to your traditions could be revitalizing.
Much of our faith can be nostalgia too. At Christmas, we expect carols, candles, trees, pageants and greenery to adorn our worship — and they will always remain in a church that has heritage. But as the true purpose of Advent and Christmas remain, we must always look for the great light (Isaiah. 9:2, Luke 2:9, John 1:4-5). Sometimes the brilliance can best be seen through new or cleaned windows.
I witnessed folks in our community re-imagining the Christmas Story through a Jazz Nativity worship service. Children made and lit Moravian Christingles — oranges with ribbons, candies and candles, though none had Moravian ancestry. People dedicated themselves to understanding and then living out Christmas as “Extravagant Welcome” in ways unanticipated.
Celebrating Christmas through serving at Harvest Table, donating to food pantries and volunteering, also transform time. Receive a glimpse of the sacred story from perspectives you may not have considered. This will help you keep Jesus, Mary and Joseph close to your heart — and every Christmas will have meaning for you. This is not being merely sentimental in life but it is finding a center to life. May your days be merry and bright, and may all your Christmas be of Light.