Christmas Interrupted

Several years ago, I’d just sat down to my Christmas Day dinner when the parish cell phone rang and interrupted my meal. A voice on the other end asked if any Christmas food hampers were available. This was Christmas Day—December 25th—and all the Christmas hampers had been distributed a week earlier. I explained to the caller that he missed the deadline and should have reached out before today to ensure he would have food for Christmas. He understood and said, “Well, thanks anyway. Merry Christmas, Reverend,” and hung up the phone. I sat back at the table and looked at my plate full of delicious turkey, potatoes, and gravy, and I completely lost my appetite.

My wife said, “You know we have some extra food here if you want to bring it to him.” I just nodded in shame for being so strict in following the rules of Christmas hamper registration and turning the man away. I called back the number on the phone and told the person I had found some food to bring to him and to let me know where he lived. I brought in the food, chatted with the person, and heard his story about losing his job just before Christmas. We prayed, and I told him to call me if he needed anything. After I left the home, I promised myself that I would try not to be annoyed anymore with these interruptions in my life.

We live in a world that constantly bombards us with interruptions and distractions, demanding our attention and diverting our focus. However, as I learned from my Christmas Day encounter, we can pause and consider how these interruptions can reveal Christmas’s true significance. Instead of being annoyed with them, let us embrace the interruptions of Christmas, for they offer us valuable lessons and remind us of the essence of this joyous season. 

Throughout the Holy Scriptures, numerous accounts of interruptions played an essential role in shaping the Christmas story. From the angelic visitations to Joseph and Mary to the shepherds being interrupted by a Heavenly Host, interruptions paved the way for the miraculous birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

We can reflect on the interruptions of caring for others. During the Christmas season, as we rush from one event to another, let us be open to the interruptions that call us to extend a helping hand, showing compassion and love towards our fellow human beings. The story of the Good Samaritan serves as a powerful example of interrupting one’s plans to help those in need.

We can also acknowledge the interruptions of reflection and gratitude. It is easy for us to become consumed by the materialistic aspects of the holiday season, focusing on presents and decorations rather than the true reason for celebration. Allowing interruptions that prompt us to reflect on the gift of Jesus’ birth and express gratitude for God’s love can refocus our hearts and help us find true joy at Christmas.

The interruptions of family and community remind us of the significance of togetherness. Christmas provides an opportune time for reconnecting with loved ones sharing meals, laughter, and memories. Amidst the interruptions of work, school and other daily concerns, we can prioritize these relationships and cherish our moments together.

We can also consider the interruptions of peace amidst chaos. In a world filled with strife, the message of Christmas offers hope and peace. The angel’s proclamation of peace on earth interrupts the noise of conflict, despair, and anxiety. As Christians, we are called to be bearers of this interruption, spreading peace and goodwill to all those around us.

As we navigate the interruptions of Christmas, let us remember that the true meaning lies in the birth of Jesus, the greatest interruption to ever occur in human history. His entrance into the world interrupted the darkness with the light of salvation, bringing hope, forgiveness, and eternal life to all who believe.

This Christmas, and every day for that matter, let us welcome, embrace, and learn from the interruptions in our lives. May they serve as reminders of the love, compassion, and peace that form the foundation of this holy season.

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