Reflections Jeremy Alger

I love Christmas! So many things about the spirit and the traditions bless my soul every year! There is no greater thing that has ever happened to this earth than that unlikely birth in that busy animals’ stall. Our Savior was born as a vulnerable little baby to two faithful kids who didn’t know what their future held. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, fully human and fully God was born for all of us to know Him!
There truly is reason to celebrate! I’m glad that it takes over the whole world (not just the church world). I don’t love the commercialization or the “competing” holiday myths that get tangled up with the true story of our Lord. But I’m glad that almost all of the world joins with us to celebrate.
I recently came across a quote from Samuel Johnson who was possibly the most influential man in his lifetime. He wrote the dominant English language dictionary that was the standard used for a century and a half before the Oxford dictionary was published.
He said that people need to be reminded more than they need to be instructed.
It is in that reminding spirit that I write to you all today about Christmas time. I am going to remind you of likely the greatest pitfall of this wonderful time of year, busy-ness. We call it the hustle and bustle. We even try to romanticize it as part of our holiday fun.
It is nice to have things to do. In this pandemic it is certainly an exciting thought to get to visit with all of our friends. But in practice most of us have found ourselves in a pattern of doing so much stuff and having so many engagements and responsibilities in December that we find far less pleasure than our giddy hearts hoped for when we made those plans.
I searched down the source of another quote, and it seems to be a popular Catholic speaker, Jesse Romero, who coined the phrase, “Buried Under Satan’s Yoke.” He says that being B.U.S.Y is not only outside of our control, but it is in the control of the lord of darkness!
That is certainly a dramatic way to put it! But I am reminded of the beautiful words of our Savior found in John 8:36 “So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” I guess that would agree with Mr. Romero. Anything less than freedom is not from Jesus.
A similar (though less abrasive) quote comes from Socrates. He said, “Beware the bareness of a busy life.” I imagine we can all relate to the experience of bustling through a season of busy-ness and looking back wondering where the time went and what was the purpose. That is the bareness that Socrates was talking about.
The beauty, meaning, and blessing of Christmas are more likely to sneak up on you in a quiet moment of reflection than they are to come while you rush from Ugly Sweater parties to shopping centers to light displays and gift exchanges.
So my reminder is simple this Christmas season. I encourage you to stop and smell the poinsettias, but don’t eat them, they’re poisonous!
Jeremy Alger is the pastor for the New Cumberland Church of the Nazarene. For more information please visit