Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, December 23, 2015
What Does Make Christmas?
The holiday season is coming to a crescendo. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. Tomorrow will be a wonderful service at my church, and lots of warm and fuzzy feelings. Christmas carols sung, special music at the service, candles lit, closing with “Silent Night.”
Yes, all of those things, and more, are wonderful. Special. One of a kind, even.
But, Henri Nouwen’s words in today’s Advent meditation bring me up short. “Somehow I realized that songs, music, good feelings, beautiful liturgies, nice presents, big dinners, and many sweet words do not make Christmas.” 
So, what does make Christmas?
I feel like Charlie Brown at the Christmas pageant rehearsal. “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?” I know Linus responds, “Sure, Charlie Brown. I can tell you what Christmas is all about.” He then recounts the Nativity narrative from Luke 2. Except—it doesn’t penetrate into Charlie Brown’s head. Yet.
I realize—intellectually—that “Christmas is believing that the salvation of the world is God’s work and not mine….it is into this broken world that a child is born who is called Son of the Most High, Prince of Peace, Savior.”  Feelings do not come into the equation. It is, in fact, something far beyond all feeling and emotion, as Fr. Nouwen says.
Yet, God wants all of me. All of us. Intellect, physicality, emotions, and feelings, and all. The salvation of the world is, indeed, God’s doing. God wants to save all parts of us. Not just emotions and feelings. Thank God. Thank You, God.
Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.
 Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen (Linguori, Missouri: Redemptorist Pastoral Publications, 2004), 50.