Holiday reflections and wishes

By Eric Seymour

As I sit to write this column, I have been debating over what to write. I had originally thought that this would be a farewell piece. As Hoosier Review has gone into print, the amount of time and energy required to keep it going has increased. As editor-in-chief a significant portion of this increased responsibility comes to me, notwithstanding the hard work by all of the HR staff.

Furthermore, a friend has expressed interest in writing on similar issues. For various reasons, however, I cannot bring myself to quit "As a Matter of Faith" for certain. So, as I look to the new year, this is one of many uncertainties I face. In fact, we always face uncertainties when entering a new year. Although the changing of the year has no concrete significance beyond the keeping of time, it holds increased meaning because of our traditions. The most immediate which comes to mind is that of making New Year's resolutions. When we put a fresh calendar on the wall, we can bring ourselves to believe that we have a clean slate. Thus, the holidays--from Hannukah to New Year--are a good time to reflect on the past year and make plans for the new.

In my experience, the "holiday spirit" is something that sneaks up on you when you're not looking. Although it's enjoyable, all the planned parties, food, music, and even TV specials cannot deliver a true Christmas joy. It is not something you can work to obtain. Like so many blessings of God, the Christmas spirit envelops you when you are busy doing kind things with truly benevolent motives.

I admit that I am a fairly chronic "Christmas junkie." I have a half-dozen Christmas CD's in my collection, decorations in my room, and a quart of eggnog in my refrigerator. Still, it wasn't truly Christmas for me until this weekend when I went caroling. A number of men's Bible study groups had gathered together for some Christmas fun when we decided to surprise some similar groups of women around town. We piled into cars and drove to the parties, and "crashed" their parties with our yuletide serenades. The expressions of delight on their faces warmed all of our hearts despite the crisp December breeze.

It is said quite often (especially in Christian circles), but merits repeating that the reason for the holiday celebration is God's gift to man of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Christ's time on earth was not a decades-long Hallmark moment; we acknowledge this part of the story on Easter. But at Christmas we celebrate His wondrous birth and the joyous proclamation that is the basis of His purpose--"God and sinner reconciled."

Considering that we are celebrating Christ, it is only fitting that we do our best to emulate Him during this season. Of course, Christians are called to be "Christ-like" at all times, but the holiday season is an appropriate time to renew our commitment to that goal, and to practice it. Spend quality time with your family, practice "random acts of kindness," and spread joy to the less-fortunate, such as volunteering with a soup kitchen or visiting a nursing home. Finally, don't let these acts disappear along with the Christmas decorations. Keep it up all year long and you'll have that spirit with you all the time.

Have a truly blessed Christmas, and I'll see you next year!!

Eric Seymour

Robert Schiener

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