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Friday, December 24, 2004

The True "Spirit" of Christmas

Recently my lovely wife was leaving a local retail establishment. On her way to her vehicle she had one of those trying little moments that reveals what kind of a person we are. Right after the incident she called me, slightly shaken. Some of the first few words out of her mouth were “you’re not going to like this,” “parking lot,” and “minivan.” My mind immediately envisioned a large dent somewhere on the body of our relatively new “child taxi.” Thankfully, that was not the case.

As Michelle was walking toward the van, a group of four young twenty-somethings, unaware of her presence, preceded her by about 10 yards down the parking aisle. This gaggle of young folks consisted of only one male. As he slinked passed our parking space, he glanced over at our vehicle and proceeded to spit upon it. My wife was startled and then just plain-old mad. Many things ran through her mind, but thankfully, none of them jump-started her tongue.

As our phone conversation progressed and I became aware of the offense, thoughts ran through my mind as well. My tongue, however, did begin to wag a little, especially after Michelle revealed that the most likely target of the lad’s spittle was not simply our van, but the political sticker that adorned the rear window. Now, I’m not going to reveal whose name was on the sticker, because that doesn’t really matter. (Those of you who have happened to read some of my previous columns could probably make a good guess.)

My words consisted mostly of the acts of vengeance that I could enact upon the young “loogie launcher.” I boldly stated that I wished I had been with her, and proceeded to describe what I would have done. I imagined myself asking the fellow to wipe off his saliva, and if he refused, picking him up and using him as a squeegee.

After several minutes of discussion my “Spirit overcame my flesh” and I concluded that the things that I were describing were not what Jesus would do. Michelle also revealed that after she was a few minutes removed from the scene she decided that the best thing she could do at that time was pray for the young man.

Later that evening over dinner with our two young boys (ages 2½ years and 9 months) we talked about the matter in more detail. My thoughts went not only to the words of Christ, but also to what kind of example I need to be setting for my boys. What if they had been on the scene? Do I want to exemplify the kind of man who lets such trivial things go—in other words, “turns the other cheek”? Or do I want to model the “sometimes you’ve got to fight to be a man” man? After all, if I can’t turn away from such a thing as that, from what can I turn away?

Michelle pointed out that as Jesus went to the cross, He Himself was spat upon, and, of course, much worse. His example was to forgive and to pray for those tormenting him.

I believe this incident is all the more significant given that we are only days away from Christmas. One of the many clich├ęs tossed around this time of year is “Spirit of Christmas.” Folks interpret this to mean many things, but I believe that it is the “Spirit” I spoke of earlier: the “Holy Spirit” that lives inside all those who believe in Christ.

This Spirit is active not only during Christmas but all year round. Every day, as we face whatever life throws at us (or spits at us), the Spirit of Christ can be there to guide us down that “narrow path of righteousness.”

When Christians truly celebrate Christmas, we’re celebrating not only a birthday but the beginning of a sequence of events that changed the world forever. Jesus was born, He lived, He died, He arose, He sent His Spirit to us, and now He is preparing a place for all of those who believe in Him. Just as sure as all of the other events took place, we who celebrate Christmas look forward to His return and we will celebrate for all of eternity.

Have a truly merry Christmas.

Copyright 2015, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World

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