The Meaning of Christmas

“The Meaning of Christmas”

Brennan Manning, Reflections for Ragamuffins (1998)

In 1980, the day before Christmas, Richard Ballenger’s mother in Anderson, South Carolina, was busy wrapping packages and asked her young son to shine her shoes. Soon, with the proud smile that only a seven-year-old can muster, he presented the shoes for inspection. His mother was so pleased that she gave him a quarter.

On Christmas morning as she put on the shoes to go to church, she noticed a lump in one shoe. She took it off and found a quarter wrapped in paper. Written on the paper in a child’s scrawl were the words,

“I done it for love.”

When the final curtain falls, each of us will be the sum of our choices throughout life, the sum of the appointments we kept and the appointments we didn’t keep. The glory of the shipwrecked will be that they habitually failed to turn up for duty. In their defense they claim they were detained by a baby in swaddling clothes. When interrogated as to why they hung out at the stable, they answer,

“We done it for love.”

In their integrity the shipwrecked preserve the meaning of Christmas in its pristine purity–the birthday of the Savior and the eruption of the messianic era into history.

This Christmas, may you belong to their number.

“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

“The Meaning of Christmas”

Brennan Manning

Reflections for Ragamuffins (1998), Page 359

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