God is over all things,
under all things,
within, but not enclosed,
without, but not excluded,
above, but not raised up,
below, but not depressed,
wholly above, presiding,
wholly without, embracing,
wholly within, filling.
—from Walking on Water by Madeleine L’Engle
This time of year, it seems there’s always some talk about the so-called war on Christmas: about people being upset if a store clerk doesn’t use the actual words “Merry Christmas.” People read cards that arrive in the mail and roll their eyes if the sentiment inside ends with “Happy Holidays.”
Many of these people react from a pure heart. They love God and want everyone to focus on the point of Christmas, to remember that it’s about Jesus coming to earth—about God drawing near. About His enormous love that prompted Him to come do for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves.
I understand where they’re coming from. I do. And in my heart, I want the same thing—an awareness of God, an understanding of the miracles we celebrate.
But I also know this: God cannot be limited. We cannot keep Him out of Christmas, no matter what we call the season. We cannot pretend He is not present, because He is in all things. Re-read the excerpt above. Over, under, outside, within, without, above, below, wholly above, wholly without, wholly within.
When we pretend God isn’t present in these holidays, we’re the ones who are deluded.
If we want to see more of Him, all we need to do is open our eyes. Open our arms, and our hearts, and our front doors. Open our pantries, our compassion, our communities. Lean on Him, call on Him, ask Him to reveal Himself. Ask Him to work through us, to shine light into the lives he’s given us, to let us be His hands extended.
And even if we don’t see Him, He is there. Because Christmas would not be miraculous if this was a temporary fix. It wouldn’t be a celebration if there were a time limit on His presence.
He is here. He was, and is, and is to come. The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit. The Lord God Almighty. The beginning and the end. The All in All.
No matter how other people celebrate, I know that this is reason enough for me to rejoice. To give thanks. To fall to my knees in wonder.
Because, Christmas or not, Jesus is here.