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What Does Christmas Mean to You?

Christmas is a time of fun. School is out and finals are done. The tree is up and the strings of lights are on the house. Presents are bought and gifts are being wrapped. The family is together and friends visit. Candles are lit and wreaths are hung. The star is placed on top of the fir tree and the figurines are set in the manger scene. Snow is falling and a roaring fire crackles in the fireplace. Smiles flash as people celebrate and joke around. Mistletoe invites kisses and hugs are given. Christmas is a wonderful time of celebration.

Christmas is a time of eating. Turkey dinners, cranberry sauce, steaming mashed potatoes and gravy, jello, salads, dripping ham, corn, green beans, and yummy deserts. Apple pie, pecan pie, chocolate chip cookies with a glass of milk, and brownies. If I eat too much, I will look like Santa.

Christmas is a time of shopping. The malls are packed. The sales are tempting. What will we buy this year? Clothes, toys, books, games, and knickknacks. Shoes, shirts, skirts, pants, socks. Balls, action figures, dolls, and talking Elmo. Computer games, electronic gizmos, and a new cell phone. Credit card bills, cash, and checks. Christmas tends to be the time when we buy this year’s gifts with next year’s money. How much can I spend and still afford books next semester?

Christmas a is time of singing. Jingle Bells. Joy to the World. Oh, Holy Night. Silent night. Away in the Manger. Oh, Come All Ye Faithful. Oh, Little Town of Bethlehem. Oh, Come Let us Adore Him. The First Noel. It Came upon a Midnight Clear. We Three Kings. What Child is This? The First Noel. Here Comes Santa Claus. Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. Ring Christmas Bells. Singing shows the joy we feel.

Christmas is a time for Santa Claus. Men in red suits with pillow stuffing populate malls. Supposedly, the jolly old man brings gifts to all the good little boys and girls. I hope I have been good this year! His sleigh magically travels around the world faster then the speed of light as he stops at every house, eats his cookies, drinks his milk and leaves gifts. Then his reindeer, Dasher, Dancer, Comet, Blitzen, Cupid, Donner, Prancer, Vixen, and Rudolph pull him to the next stop. Isn’t Santa based on stories about a saint named Nicholas, who went door to door among the poor giving gifts to the needy children?

Christmas is a time of presents. You buy them and you hide them. You wrap them and you carefully place them under the tree. Someone comes and shakes them trying to guess what is inside. Christmas morning, the wrapping is torn off and the hidden surprises are finally brought to light. But, for your family, the best present is your presence at home.

Christmas is about ministry. For a recent Christmas, I spent several days in Mexico giving away presents to needy children. I helped wrap several hundred presents that were destined to be the only Christmas presents some children would receive that year. As I wrapped the presents, I was reminded of the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh which the wisemen brought to Jesus. I was wishing that I could have been there to give something to the Christ child, until I remembered that Jesus had said, “What you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me.” By giving to others, we are giving to Jesus.

Christmas is a sacred time. It is Jesus’ birthday. Two thousand years ago, God Almighty came to earth and lived in the womb of a teenage girl named Mary. There was no room in the inn so the baby boy was born in a stable with the animals. Mankind ignored the event but angels rejoiced, “Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth, peace, goodwill toward men.” The poor shepherds sat stunned as they heard the news, then they left their own sheep in the fields as they raced to see the lamb who would take away the sins of the world. Three wisemen traveled from afar, following a sign, and they found Jesus in Bethlehem and gave him gifts. Both the shepherds and the wisemen glorified and praised God for all they had seen and heard and Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. We should make Christmas a time to praise God and we should ponder in our hearts about everything He has done for us.     

Celebrating the Reason for the Season,

Dr. Daniel King

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