A Christmas version of I Corinthians 13
By Brian R. Godshall 12/14/97 © 2010
If I sing with the tongues of a Bing Crosby or the Boys Choir of Harlem, but have not Christ in my heart at Christmas, I may be only a Christmas with the Chipmunks tape or an Elmo & Patsy 8-track.
If I have the gifts of stringing popcorn for a ‘down home’ Christmas tree and can fathom the cultural aspects of holy holidays around the globe,
And if I have credit cards with which I can afford to purchase a mountain of gifts for everyone from my mailman to my favorite boss and a distant cousin whom I haven’t seen in years, but have not Christ in my heart at Christmas, I am nothing.
If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to wait on long lines when taking my nieces and nephews to visit with Santa Claus, and have not Christ in my heart, I gain nothing.
Christ in my heart at Christmas is patient with tired and cranky children, is kind towards old people, does not envy those who receive larger presents, does not boast about Christmas bonuses, it is not proud.
It is not rude when one too many carolers sing the same songs, is not self-seeking in gift exchanges on the job, is not easily angered by people who cut in line, keeps no record of wrongs – and how many years it’s been since I actually received a card back from that old friend.
Christ in my heart at Christmas does not delight in evil, or supposedly inventive ways of redesigning or re-conceiving Christmas for a post-modern age; but rejoices with the truth of a babe born of a virgin, celebrated by Angels and lowly shepherds, and gifted by wise men, while the mother pondered all of this in her heart.
It always protects organizations like Covenant House, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and other charities, looks kindly upon Santas of all Persuasions, gives to the United Negro College Fund, hopes for a cure for deadly diseases, and spiritually perseveres in the face of secular cynicism and consumer desires.
Christ in my heart at Christmas never fails. But where there are 50% off sales, they will cease. Where there are fast-talking saleswomen, they will be stilled.
For we may purchase on layaway and hope for future pay raises and may eat too many Christmas cookies,
But when January comes and if those bills and extra pounds do pile up, we know that Christ in my heart will see us through the New Year.
When I was a child I believed in Santa, left cookies for elves, listened closely for reindeers’ hooves, and reasoned endlessly with parents on the educational value of a new toy, bike or videogame.
But when I became a man, I put my selfish ways behind me. For now we see but a poor reflection as in a department store window covered with plastic snow.
Then we shall see face to face the baby Jesus who grew up to be the
KING OF KINGS
LORD OF LORDS
And the PRINCE OF PEACE.
Now I know in part, I might sometimes pay on credit and I shop early to avoid crowds, then I shall know fully the truest gift received even as I have been truly blessed.
And now these three remain
Faith, Hope and Christ in my heart,
But the greatest of these is Love.