Years ago, after someone's toy arrived without batteries --- don't recall if adult or child --- I drove to Casey's on Court to find power.
Opened the front door for an older woman preparing to exit and said, "Merry Christmas!" She looked me in the eye and said, "Harumph! Just a day like any other."
That seemed harsh at the time, but then I didn't know her circumstances. Some pointedly do not celebrate Christmas, including Jehovah's Witnesses. Early Quakers didn't either. Their issue with Christmas, and other holidays, was a belief the all days are holy and that none should be elevated above the rest.
And we forget quite often that Christianity is only one spiritual path, among many.
I think it most likely, however, that this woman was alone on Christmas, and sad. I've remembered her words much longer than those of any Christmas sermon.
We had a lovely service of lessons, carols and candles last night. Many familiar faces, some not.
Try singing "Silent Night" in a darkened church while holding a lighted candle as other candles blaze against the darkness on the altar, in the Advent wreath and elsewhere --- and not tearing up, at least a little.
Enough soup and bread and sweets afterward to feed a developing third-world country.
I love Christmas --- every bit of it. But especially the fact we try to be a little nicer and often are. We're considerably more generous during the season. That's why those Salvation Army bells are so effective during December.
Some try to ensure that every child will have a gift under the tree on Christmas morning, others that every family will have the fixings for a festive meal, or at least an adequate meal, on Christmas Day. Some carol in nursing homes and remember the forgotten there, too. And in the prisons, and hospitals. Those serving in the military.
Then we extinguish the candles, take down the tree and move on. And get back to squabbling among ourselves.
Instead of doing that this year, may the joy of the Incarnation illuminate your life and shine out in love and service throughout the year --- so that when we meet again to sing "Silent Night" we can say, "nothing special, just a day like any other."