Don’t those two words just make you feel great? I know it does something special for me. I love saying Merry Christmas. I always have. I must admit though, I’ve never had an Unmerry Christmas. Unfortunately, that is not true for many people. For many, the missing link is one word. What is it?
For me, it took a lifetime to understand the full meaning of Merry Christmas. Maybe I’m a slow learner. Some people think they know it, but are entirely off base. I think some people never totally get it, so I guess it’s better for me to learn it at some time than to never learn it at all.
I learned there is one word that most people don’t get. Without that one-word, Merry Christmas only brings temporary happiness. What is that one word? Let me take you on my personal journey of discovering it.
As a kid growing up in a loving Christian family, the meaning of Merry Christmas was two-fold. First, Merry Christmas selfishly meant graciously receiving gifts, and to be truthful, begrudgingly giving them. Being poor, we did not get many gifts and they fell into the need category. I got underwear, socks, and shoes with a toy or two.
On the unselfish side, I learned Merry Christmas represented the birthday of Jesus. For once, I listened in Sunday School class as the teachers used flannel graph to illustrate little baby Jesus in the manger and the wise men who came with gifts. It was a time when God came to earth in the form of a baby. This gift was the ultimate gift of eternal life for those who believed in him. And this was the reason for the season. Few can dispute Jesus’ birthday, even for those ape evolving believers.
So, at an early age, I began to have a basic understanding of having faith, believing in the best gift man could possibly receive. In turn, this gave me hope in a future not only on this earth, but also to infinity and beyond!
Still, something was missing from my understanding of the two words, Merry Christmas.
What was it?
As I stated earlier, I do not remember ever having a bad Christmas. I remember my best Christmas was a toss-up between the one when I received my Ryder BB gun and when I received a horse and brand-new saddle. Or was it when I received my first car? See, you can tell I am a spoiled brat who has never really had to struggle. Oh, I’ve gone through my share of holidays missing loved one’s past. But something was always present, and I can’t quite put my finger on it.
What was it?
When I chose retail as a profession, Merry Christmas meant demanding work. Retail tends to take the Merry out of Christmas extremely fast. I saw firsthand, the hustle and bustle of shoppers buying gifts; many that most could not afford. These shoppers, stressed to the max, never minded taking out their problems on me and or my employees. These shoppers missed the true meaning of this season. For many years, I allowed them to take the joy out of Christmas for me. I got the sinking feeling their recipients it was dependent on the size and quantity of said gifts.
I lost it.
But then, I decided to look for the positives during the Merry Christmas season. I began to see the Merry of Christmas put into action in so many ways. I will share a few of the many things I witnessed.
One Christmas Eve, I saw a dad, exhausted from working his fingers to the bone, smelly, dirty and desperate, come to our store to buy Christmas for his kids. It was obvious he was working with a limited budget. In reality, he had no budget. Writing a check both he and the store manager knew would bounce, the manager not only accepted the check, but wished him and his family a Merry Christmas. The manager knew those parents would pay it all back in time.
That store manager had it. I started experiencing the it.
I saw employees who barely earned more than minimum wage pitch in to buy gifts for fellow employees who had medical bills to pay and no money left for kids Christmas.
Those employees had it. They showed me how to do it.
Once I witnessed businessmen try to take the Christmas out of Merry. I was in a business strategy meeting planning the upcoming Merry Christmas season. I could not believe what we discussed. Are you ready for this? We discussed the wisdom of using the term Merry Christmas in our stores. The issue weighing heavy on these wise businessmen’s minds was whether we were offending some of our customers by using the term Merry Christmas. They wanted to replace Merry Christmas with Happy Holidays.
These guys did not have it.
The past two weeks, I have spent some time wandering through retail stores in a metro area. I can’t get the retail out of me as I did it for thirty-five years. I’m so happy for humanity. I heard all ages, all races saying Merry Christmas. People opened doors for me and said thank you. Could there be hope for mankind?
These people have it.
Did you know Merry Christmas is celebrated in 165 of 196 countries in various forms? It’s hard to believe all countries do not celebrate Merry Christmas, but that is a different story. Can you imagine not having Christmas in your home?
As my family begins our Merry Christmas celebration this year, amidst the hugs, laughter and joy, my family exudes it. Gifts abound under our tree. I see hope for a bright future and beyond. As we bow our heads to give thanks for our overflowing abundance of blessings, I feel faith abound.
A home without it is no home.
Merry Christmas becomes crystal clear to me. Yes, it is faith. Yes, it is hope. But without it, Merry Christmas is meaningless.
The it is ….LOVE.
“Now Faith, Hope and Love abide. But the greatest of these is LOVE.”
My wish for you is that you have IT. I hope you will give IT. But most of all, I hope you receive IT. For without LOVE, there is no Merry in Christmas.
Merry Christmas to you and yours, sincerely, with all of true IT I can share!