Christmas is often a time of year where we focus on shared traditions: singing carols, exchanging gifts, having a meal, going to church, and watching Christmas movies.
There’s something heartwarming about those stories in Christmas movies, something special about watching the same ones every year and remembering the lines together (“You’ll shoot your eye out!” or “Every time a bell rings…”). These movies show us the best parts of being human and being in community together. Someone often learns a lesson about love and selflessness or maybe a town rallies together to have the best Christmas ever, while others have a sing-a-long. A great example is the Muppet Christmas Carol, one of my personal favourites. In it, the Ghost of Christmas Present sings a song called “It Feels Like Christmas.” Some of the lyrics include:
A cup of kindness that we share with another
A sweet reunion with a friend or a brother
In all the places you find love
It feels like Christmas
It is the season of the heart
A special time of caring
The ways of love made clear
It is the season of the spirit
The message, if we hear it
Is make it last all year
Sure, they come from a Muppet, but as we continue our time of Advent, focusing on love, what can we learn from these poignant words? They reflect the reason for Christ’s birth and one of the central messages he shared during his ministry: love and community go hand in hand. When we love and put others before ourselves, we are building community; we are sharing Christ’s love with each other. In John, we read Jesus’ words that encourage us to create communities of love.
I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35)
Think about how you feel love and how you feel community. How can we make ‘the season of the heart’ and ‘special time of caring’ last all year? Love is woven through not just Jesus’ birth but his life’s ministry. Let love be our tradition this year, and all year moving forward. In all the places you find love, you’re showing Jesus.