I often remember a line from C.S. Lewis' "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe": "Always - winter and never - Christmas..." Where I come from, it was like that.
What's Christmas? Just an agreed upon date. We now know that, Jesus wasn't born on Dec. 25. Why do we strive so much to mark this day in our year with its special traditions and a nostalgic desire to do better by our fellow - human beings?
In Russia we were taught, God doesn't exist, and the Bible and the story of Jesus were just a myth. Yet, the greatest of the Russian thinkers and writers were devoted Christians, whose works are imbued with the references and principles of that religion. Those books were the only source for us to learn about spirituality, unless our parents managed to impart on us their own religious traditions.
Ethnically my family was Jewish. My parents grew up following some Jewish traditions, but they didn't carry them into their own lives. We sometimes ate certain things to mark a holiday, but all of us were confused about the meaning of what we were doing.
I lived in a fog. Literature and art alleviated my pain and confusion, but emotionally I felt like there was a spell on me - a pressure, holding me down and preventing me from reaching happiness.
The greatest day of my life came, when out of desperation I, for the first time, prayed, and Heavenly God answered my prayer. The next years, while my family moved to the West, were filled with many discoveries of His boundless Grace and love.
My parents and most of our relatives thought, I lost my mind.
What do we need most in life? I am talking, other than the basic survival. Why do even the richest people, who seem to have everything they might need in the world, - or any people - become depressed or look for satisfaction in the most untoward places?
We need to feel, we are loved and understood. Unfortunately, we, humans, are very inconsistent in providing those things for each other.
That's why the knowledge that, with all of our mistakes and hang ups God loves us, makes such a difference! As the children of the Almighty, each of us also have the value of an unsurpassed significance!
Dec. 25. On that date or another, Jesus was born into this world, because we needed to realize, how much God loves us. The baby Jesus - the son of God - lay in a filthy cave, that served as a stable. His mother swaddled him in a horse blanket. Why? The most important reason for it was, I think, for us to see that he was one of us. At thirty years of age he was still a carpenter's apprentice. At thirty three he gave his life in order for us to regain the value, which we have lost.
Do you love music? Poetry? Art? Imagine, Beethoven died at an early age, before he wrote his works. Or da Vinci - before he made his impact on the world. How much poorer would the world be for the death of those talented, but flawed people! Jesus was so much more than that. He alone knew the Heart of God and was one with Him and the universe. How much then did Heavenly Father sacrifice, when He allowed Jesus to die? That is how much He loves us!
I am getting too preachy. All I want to say: without knowing God's love we can't be happy. We can survive, just putting one foot in front of another, but the real colors and joy come into our lives only when we comprehend: He always accepts us - completely and unconditionally!