IT was the day our office planned our special holiday luncheon buffet. I was watching for an opportunity to quietly slip a Christmas present on a co-worker's desk when he wasn't looking. It was just a box of chocolates, but I wanted to add a note of thanks for the teamwork we had enjoyed that year. While I waited for the right moment, this particular co-worker approached me. In a loud outburst that rang through the entire office, he expressed his anger at a decision I had made. He gave me little time to explain anything and left in a rage.
For those who witnessed the scene, and for me, his heated words completely disrupted the festive holiday spirit. I returned to my desk seeking a moment or two to regain my peace of mind. There was no sense in giving the chocolates to him now. For one thing, it would seem insincere, and he would probably consider it an attempt to placate him. On top of that, I no longer had any desire to give him the gift.
I reached out to God for a different perspective on the situation and quietly began to pray. My thought turned to the first Christmas, when wise men journeyed to a distant land to find the babe Jesus. When they found him, the Gospel of Matthew tells us, ``They saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh'' (2:11).
The birth of Jesus heralded the way for all mankind to be saved. Christ, or Truth, is always present and powerful. Christ Jesus lived this truth and demonstrated its power. He gave the world a dynamic understanding of God as the Father of all. He made it clear that all men could claim their sonship with God, and by doing so, follow his example. Here was a man who loved mankind in a way no one had ever done before, because he loved and understood God in a way no one had before.
There in that office, heightened emotions and human will were trying to crowd out this recognition of Christ and rob us of the joy of the Christmas celebration. The words of a passage about Christmas in The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, came to mind and filled me with calm: ``At this immortal hour, all human hate, pride, greed, lust should bow and declare Christ's power, and the reign of Truth and Life divine should make man's being pure and blest'' (p. 257).
The scene that had just occurred no longer impressed me. I could see that the real need was for Christ's presence and power to be felt. A renewed sense of the peace and beauty of the deeper significance of Christmas came over me. It seemed very natural to go right ahead and set the chocolates on my co-worker's desk. In fact, it was the perfect moment. I attached a brief note saying ``Thanks for a great year of camaraderie,'' and meant it from the heart. One flare-up couldn't outweigh what had been a real sense of teamwork.
After finding the chocolates and card, my co-worker came into my office. His anger had melted and he apologized with genuine warmth and sincerity. We proceeded with our luncheon buffet as though nothing had ever happened. Something had happened, though. That something was an awakening in my heart to the presence of Christ. What beauty the holidays have for us when we let Christ reign in our hearts. They are filled with the peace and joy that come from a genuine recognition of the significance of Jesus' example.