The reason…and there are many of them…that we celebrate Christmas on December 25th is secondary. Celebrating the birthday of Jesus every year is really what Christmas is all about. It is remembering that he was born, lived an exemplary life, for approximately thirty-three years, and died an agonizing death. It is remembering not that he lived and died, but that he died and lives…lives in the hearts of those of us who believe, lives to reach out to those who do not believe, and lives to give real meaning to the event that is the most widely celebrated on our planet…Christmas. Let me share a poem I wrote in 1995 while pondering the idea that Santa Claus seemed to be the the reason for the season in many minds.
THE WONDER OF CHRISTMAS
The wonder of Christmas,
The birth of a Child,
The angels are singing His praises,
The people rejoice
At the sound of His voice
Echoing down through the ages.
Hope, love and laughter,
Peace and goodwill,
The message resounds loud and clear,
The birth of God’s Son,
His gift to us all,
This is the wonder of Christmas.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good life.
It is one of those years when Christmas is not going to be very merry for some people. There are those who have lost loved ones over this past year, or even over a few years, who, although surrounded by family and friends will still feel alone. It comes with the territory; their special person is no longer with them to share the season with. There will be no special gift to think about, no one to decorate the tree with, no one to put their pinky to the wishbone with them. Each year gets a little easier, but for those spending a first Christmas without their loved one, this will be the most difficult.
Let there be some consolation in the words of Jesus in Matthew 28:20, “And surely I am with you always…”
If we believe in those words, feel the memory of love, submit to the peace of the season, we will realize that in most ways we are not alone.
This morning I opened a forward that one of my daughters sent my way in 2012. It was a flashmob rendition of Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee, and numerous other wonderful Christmas Savior songs.
As the music crescendoed from my Ipad, I raised my hands in response to the call for adoration.
Joyful tears flowed as I gave thanks not only for the Baby born over two thousand years ago, but for the babies that have blessed my life over the last sixty years: my sons and daughters, my grandsons and granddaughters and most of all my great-grandchildren; all truly wonderful gifts.
The joy that filled my heart at our family Christmas party yesterday, overflowed this morning in thanksgiving to the One whose presence in my life is my greatest gift.
“Oh, come let us adore Him, Christ, the Lord!”
I asked my ten-year-old grandson what he wanted for Christmas. His dimples deepened in thought, and his reply was, “Nana, I have no idea! I have everything now and don’t need anything more.” And then he looked me in the eye and said, “I’d really like world peace.”
I wanted to hug his little self and not let go, but we were in a hockey arena and ten-year-old hockey players have an image to keep up.
When a child of that age realizes how cruel our world is becoming, and wants world peace over toys and technology, how do we fulfill a Christmas wish like that?
Does Santa have world peace in his sack?
This chapter reveals a devastating disappointment in the eleventh Christmas of my life.
Chapter Twelve – Toe Picks
My quivering fingers ripped part of the paper off my present. Yes! There were the white boots, but wait, they were shoe polish white! Tearing at the rest of the paper I uncovered the gleam of steel blades. But it was a steel wool gleam. My heart sank as the paper fell away from the rest of the skates– no toe picks.
The lump in my throat felt like a tennis ball. Choking back tears, I examined the skates a little closer. The insides of the boots were a dull, worn flannel. They were second-hand skates, somebody else’s has-been skates. Disappointment crushed me. They were not even figure skates……
A hope deferred makes the heart sick… Proverbs 13:12
Tomorrow – My First Job – A Lesson in Self-Reliance