I freely admit that I long for Christmas past. It’s not the frantic last minute Christmas shopping that I miss. Nor the icky Christmas specials on television that drip with gooey sentimentality.
I do not long to hear Christmas carols echoing from every public sound system. Nor do I want to see any more public officials throwing the switch on “holiday” trees at civic centers.
No, on Christmas Day I miss being in Houston with my friends, Pamela and Adam Hamza, and their children Pate and Dawkin. I miss Pamela’s parents coming in from the hill country near Austin, loaded up with the most delicious pies I’ve ever eaten. Most of all, I miss the sincere joy my friends felt celebrating the birth of their Lord Savior – and their desire to share this special day with my family.
For years, the Hamzas joined us at our family seder – and we went to their home for Christmas. Mutual respect and appreciation, love of family and faith, were values undergirding our friendship. Religious triumphalism and proselytization were out of the question.
I miss being with believing, faithful Christians on Christmas day. For when people of faith celebrate sacred occasions, the joy radiates outwards to embrace all humanity.
Published originally in 2009.