Some fraction of my six readers, plus everybody who saw the the title of this post on Facebook, are likely wondering if I’ve abandoned my faith and am now providing aid and comfort to the unwashed secular horde intent on erasing Christ from Christmas.
Well, not so much.
A few years ago, Rhonda Parrish published one of my short stories in Niteblade Fantasy and Horror Magazine, a mordant little tale called “Prison Dreams.” A few weeks ago, she sent out an invitation to the folks on her mailing list, looking for holiday-themed articles to share and host during the month of December as part of something she’s calling the Giftmas Blog Tour. Rhonda and her family don’t observe a religious element of the December holiday season, whether Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule, or whatever. They focus on family time and exchanging gifts. She didn’t forbid religious content from the tour contributors, but she was looking for a variety of happy memories, family traditions, and reflections across the spectrum of our individual experiences of this season.
I figured I could work with that. Besides, nobody else invited me to write anything this month, so my schedule was wide open.
Yes, the name “Giftmas” gave me a little cringe, at first, but as I thought more about it, from a Christian point of view, what exactly are we celebrating at Christmas, if not the ultimate gift? The Creator of the universe made Himself a gift to us, a gift we did not and could not do anything to deserve, a gift we were certain to not fully understand or appreciate, a gift many of us would, in fact, reject outright. And yet, the gift was bestowed upon us anyway, because God loves us.
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light…in Him was life, and the life was the light of men…Do not be afraid, for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people, for there is born to you this day in the City of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.
And in our very small and imperfect way, at Christmas, we follow this divine example of selfless generosity—trying to give gifts springing from and offered in love to family, friends, and even strangers in our midst, demanding nothing in return. So, to those who maintain that gifts symbolize every wrong that has been inflicted on this sacred season by our materialistic, commercial culture, I must respectfully disagree.
To paraphrase St. James, show me Christmas without gifts, and I will show you Christmas by my gifts.
The Giftmas Blog Tour runs from 2-30 December, skipping Sundays and Christmas Day. Check Ms. Parrish’s blog in a day or two for a complete schedule of postings and hostings. There will, oddly enough, be a giveaway drawing for gifts provided by the participants, so please read and enter. I tossed in a signed copy of my short story anthology, Odd Little Miracles, plus something shiny which I will not disclose because the best gifts include an element of surprise.