A magical holiday

Published 7:04 am Friday, December 24, 2010

At some point tonight, if you’re truly open to the experience, a peaceful tide will fill your very soul.

It may hit the weary shopkeeper when he finally closes up for the night. Or the anxious hostess when she lays the last dish on the table. Or the quiet churchgoer as he waits for the first hymn. Or the doting mother who looks over her child resting peacefully in bed.

It’s at that moment that we mortals are reminded how eternally magic Christmas can be. What else can make us feel so kindly toward our fellow man? What else can relieve the worries that normally flood our minds? What else can make us feel that all is right with the world?

Of course, gift-giving is part of the transformation we feel, especially when we are surrounded by the contagious excitement of children. But there is something more that touches us than simply admiring the colorful gifts wrapped under the tree, and the anticipation over the joy they may bring.

It’s the certainty that this peaceful feeling has divine origins — and that when our heart is fixed on the existence of God in the world, all other hostilities and pettiness and anxieties fade away.

It is in that moment that we see the Christ child, born more than 2,000 years ago, not just in our mind’s eye but in family, friends and, if we’re really looking, in the lowliest of strangers too.

That epiphany is the greatest gift that Christmas brings.