Monday, December 18, 2006

Merry Christmas!

The strikingly beautiful aspect of the "Happy Holidays" situation at work (see Thursday's post) is that "Merry Christmas" has wrecklessly torn itself from the prison of cliche.

For most of my life, "Merry Christmas" has been the default greeting in December. It had very little meaning to me though, a Decemberfied "what's up?". With H^2 now becoming the purposeful go-to cliche this time of year, MC has become rarer than Hammer. And with rarity comes preciousness. Diamonds, to us the Econ101 example. Or wins for the Carolina Panthers.

One must work to say "Merry Christmas" these days. It no longer just rolls off the tongue of the masses. I've heard it from customers maybe five times in the past 10 days at work, and, to my surprise, nothing makes my face light up more - not even a Kris Jenkins sighting these days. I feel a sense of connection with folks when they tell me Merry Christmas because I know that they share what I claim to be most important in my life - love for Jesus.

When someone tells me "Merry Christmas," they no longer just want me to have a good day or enjoy my presents or take some time off of work. They are wishing me the internal peace Jesus brings to a restless soul, the purpose the manager brings into my rut every day, the salvation that the cross made possible, the new life which exists in an empty tomb. The greeting tells me that yes, I am a stranger among the masses, an exile in a faraway land, a pilgrim not yet arrived, but that this person is one with me.

In the end, I think this is what most moves me about the greeting. A lot can be said for Christian community. I think this is one blatant advantage the Christian life has against a dog-eat-dog, self-reliant, not me-first but me-only world. But that's for another day. All I know today about community is that I like it. When people greet me with "Merry Christmas," they tell me that they too believe Jesus is coming and has come and that that makes all the difference in the world.

So use your "Merry Christmas"'s carefully this week but use them in abundance. The world has ceased wearing the phrase out, so let us use it often. It may mean a whole lot to a nameless face out there, especially one checking you out at a register or putting books on a shelf in the back corner of the store.

On another note, my blog year ends here. I'm going to try to spend the better part of next week working on an application, forcing half-marathon training into my schedule, and enjoying Christmastime with my family. Thanks to all of you who have read along with me. Writers love nothing more than readers (and editors!). If anything irresistable comes along, I might drop in occasionally, but if not, I'll start posting again the first Monday of the new year.

Merry Christmas!

5 comments:

Jeff said...

quitter

AJ said...

Merry Christmas Ben, stay strong in the Lord, brother!

-AJ

Oakley said...

I'm headin to the QC on Friday so I'd be more than happy to make sure you get some quality half-marathon training in. Merry Christmas and I hope to see you guys this weekend.

Jenn Pappa said...

Merry Christmas Ben! (and everybody else!)

Anonymous said...

They are wishing me the internal peace Jesus brings to a restless soul, the purpose the manager brings into my rut every day, the salvation that the cross made possible, the new life which exists in an empty tomb. The greeting tells me that yes, I am a stranger among the masses, an exile in a faraway land, a pilgrim not yet arrived, but that this person is one with me.

some colorful writing my friend! Sounds like a friend from high school has slowly but surely impacted your wn writing style!