Missing Christmas

Some time back, I heard the story of a man named George Mason. From what I can tell, it may very well be a true story. George’s life was consumed by his work. Even Christmas held no reverence for him. Each Christmas, he received several invitations to spend Christmas Day with different families, but he always declined the offers. One particular Christmas was no exception.

On this certain Christmas Eve, after all his employees had left for home, George went into the office vault to get a little extra cash. As he entered, the heavy door of the walk-in safe shut behind him. Desperately, he beat his fist on the steel door and yelled out screams for rescue. But no one was around to hear. Even the janitor had taken his leave for the day. Realizing his fate, the lonely miser comforted himself with the thought, “I can make it all right until morning.” But then with an awful shock he recalled that the next day was Christmas. No one would be coming in the office for two days. He almost panicked as he began to calculate the available amount of oxygen. But then he spied a small appliance attached to back wall—an air vent that had been placed there by the manufacturer just in case someone found himself or herself in an unfortunate event such as this. So slowly, George slumped to the floor and began to wait out the ordeal of the slowly ticking clock.

Early in the morning, the day after Christmas, the chief cashier arrived and began his routine, which included unlocking the vault, yet not actually opening the door. Hearing the lock tumblers fall into place, the exhausted, faint, hungry and thirsty George pushed open the door and exited the human-size safe without being spotted. He was able to go home, shower, dress and return to the office without anyone suspecting anything to the contrary. Life went on as usual, except for one thing—George Mason had missed Christmas.

Can you believe it? He missed Christmas, all because of a door being shut. I am not sure that I have ever heard of such a thing before. If I have, it certainly isn’t common—or is it? On second thought, there are some people who “miss” Christmas year after year. You know what I mean by “missing” Christmas, right? There are people who give and receive presents, decorate their homes and trees, make their appearances at the appropriate number of parties and church programs, but who miss the opportunity to savor the splendor and contemplate the mystery of God’s love made visible.

This certain segment of people are those who never get around to purposefully shutting a door—shutting the door on the outside world, so they can fully experience a wonder- filled Christmas waiting to be enjoyed. Let me repeat that in case you read over it too fast: A wonder-filled Christmas. A wonder-filled Christmas is the season which is punctuated with childlike enthusiasm, contemplation, and wide-eyed amazement that the God of the universe actually loved us so much, that He purposefully interjected Himself into human history in a very unexpected fashion—by becoming one of us. I know that’s hard to wrap your mind around, the awesome wonder of that mystery. To fully experience it takes intention, time, worship and listening. Yet, many of us, much like George Mason, allow the door to be shut on all of that—and we miss Christmas.

But what if…what if this year, we did some things different? What if this year, we stop trying to plan out our Christmas celebrations, customs, appearances, __________ (fill your own vice in here), and just let the mystery of the season return us to a childlike state of wonder, awe and amazement? What if this year, we let the incarnation of a God who loves us enough to want to be with us, be born into the spiritually-void routines of celebrations? What if we were to close the door of our expectations and allow God to throw open wide the door of the sheer joy of mystery? To do so would probably open up our eyes and our hearts to all we have been missing for far too long.

May this Christmas fill you with all joy, peace and love!