The Christmas Gift

I get inspiration when I work. No activity is more inspiring than
working
quietly with cattle; no tractor, no engine noises-just a pitchfork
and me. I like to sing, hum or whistle while I work and my recent
play list is mostly Christmas music. One of those poorly-sung songs
really made me “choke-up” and made me think this week.

There are many reasons for tears during Christmas. I have seen some
of the worst behavior among families during this time of year. We all
expect to be close with loved ones during the holidays so those who
seek to hurt family members often see an opportunity. Families,
already split by divorce, sometimes suffer even more as mom and dad
use visitation with the children they have in common as a weapon
against each other.

Most people also aspire for peace on earth during Christmas. I think
this may be the reason why violence hurts most folks so deeply during
Christmas.
I really feel for those who have family and friends at
war or who have recently been touched by tragedy which makes peace
difficult to achieve. It seems we have more sadness than in past
years.

All of these scenarios are good reason for tears, but they are not my
reason. I’d rather tear up from a good gift.

My reason has more to do with the song, “Hark, the Herald Angels
Sing.” I was singing it to myself while I fed cattle. The line that
makes me choke up is “born that man no more may die.” Most of us feel
invincible when we are young; however knowledge
of our own impending death eventually finds a place in our young
minds. I don’t
believe there’s ever a time when my own impending death (by old age,
really old age!) is very far away from my thoughts. It’s not something
that I even consciously think about, but it’s there almost always.

The good news is that while there is always physical death, there is
spiritual immortality. That’s why the line, “born that man no more
may die” gets to me. I think every one of us has the nagging thought
that one day we will pass. But when we are reminded that we will not
die but have everlasting life it is such a relief that it’s met with
a rush of emotions-even tears.

Here’s the thing about Christmas, it is the celebration of the birth
of Jesus. God gave us everything we need to live right from the
beginning,
but decided that it wasn’t enough. He sent
his son to absorb our sins and remind us of an everlasting life. It
is a gift, we do not earn it. It is the gift of relief from fear of
death and impetus for us to do our best on earth in preparation for
the next life.

It funny what you learn working with cattle. Actually it’s really a
relief what you come to understand working with cattle. Life is
everlasting, especially at Christmas. Now go open your gift.