Christmas was not always a special time for me. I spent most of my formative years as a practicing member of the Jehovah's Witnesses, who do not believe in Christmas, which they regard as "pagan." But the more I learned and experienced, the more I became convinced that there had to be another way. After several crises of faith, falling in love and marrying, my children converted me to Christmas.
At first I was hesitant. But as my children got older, I grew more fond of the Christmas traditions. When we lived in Miami Shores, I even made deer tracks out of our fireplace--yes, a fireplace in Florida!--and I'd take a bite out of the cookies that had been left for Santa. More importantly, however, I grew to appreciate the Christian hope in the holiday. Little by little, I learned to accept all aspects of the season, and then, wonder of wonders, I began to write Christmas poems.
Over the years as I wrote more poems and at the urging of my friends, I gathered all the poems and a story into a book: Twelve Poems and A Story for Christmas. This small volume, about which I'm very proud, portrays the Holy Family as simple people, like you and me, being called to love and to do extraordinary things.
And this is what I now believe to be the miracle of Christmas--God's gift to humanity. I also believe that our gifts and talents are God's gifts to the world that we should share as much as we can. As an eminent theologian has stated: "I experience God as the source of life calling me to live fully, as the presence of love calling me to love wastefully, as the Ground of Being empowering me to be all that I can be. So God is seen for me in lives fully lived, love wastefully given and being used to empower others to be."
For the past three years, I've been sharing some of these poems on my blog in various formats which I hope my readers will enjoy: a retelling of the Christmas story from a Caribbean perspective.
Merry Christmas, Dave, and to all your readers!
Geoffrey Philp is the author of nine books of poetry and fiction, including his most recent collection of short stories, Who's Your Daddy? And Other Stories. He maintains a blog @ http://geoffreyphilp.blogspot.