Is Christmas only for kids and does peace on earth, good will extend to the dogs?
December brings a kind, seasonal spirit. The song asks “Why can’t we keep Christmas every day of the year?” And the reality is that Christmas brings stress: family isn’t always fun to be with, expectations are high, people are traveling, budgets get blown … the cause for headaches increases with the social obligations.
I am privileged to spend Christmas with my sister’s family this year, and delighted that small children are involved. Her eight year old grandson is losing his belief in Santa, he has pieced it together that when Santa showed up on Christmas Eve, grandpa was in the bathroom. When my own children were small, we didn’t fuss too much about Mr. Claus, we kind of let him be … his mall lap was sat on, hopes whispered into his ears, we have the pictures. I had not wanted all the components of Christmas to be lumped together, and then outgrown … like the magical man that can visit all the children of the world in a sleigh on one night. (About as realistic as the nativity scene?)
My own grandchildren are living in N Africa, and they are not bombarded with seasonal slogans, no music piped in at the malls. Everything is focused and intentional on their part, the country does not celebrate Christmas. Yes believe it or not, the western way of doing Christmas is very western, and very consumer driven … And the true Father of Christmas has invited us to become like little children-to come with eyes wide in wonder, and embrace the most unbelievable gift given for all—Immanuel, God with us.
And what about the dogs? How did that get into the picture … well in the Oregon country side where I am Christmasing, the neighbor has three dogs, two dobermans, and a small yapper …. My sister and I went for a walk, and to our nervous surprise, the dogs circled us, bared teeth … I was just thinking that they were not looking or feeling very friendly, when I felt this sharp pain on the back of my left leg as one dog darted behind me. “I think he bit me!” I exclaimed to my sister and he had. We talked to the owner—we told him that was a serious offence, and her grandkids were coming the next day … we wanted to be able to walk the country lane. My thoughts of goodwill were lost in the moment.
So does peace and good will extend to all? Do you extend good will to a dog? If so, what does that look like? The peace and joy of the season gets challenged daily in December and the coming year. So, who let the dogs out?
Merry Christmas to all!!