Altar Call -- Opelika-Auburn News
Walter Albritton
December 24, 2000

What makes Christmas such a special time of the year

For millions of people Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. Not just Christmas day but the entire Christmas season. What makes Christmas so special? While it is the birthday of Christ, from whom Christmas gets its name, that alone does not explain the wonder of this special time of the year. Let me share with you why Christmas is so special to me.

I love Christmas because of the way it influences the way many of us think. No matter how crabby we are most of the time, Christmas softens our hearts. We look for ways to help others less fortunate than ourselves. Most of us will go out of our way to offer a helping hand to the poor as we approach Christmas. Somehow, for whatever reason, Christmas puts us "under the influence," not of alcoholic beverages but of generosity.

Christmas is precious to me because of the way it makes us think about children. Men who buy few gifts all year long will purchase gifts for children at Christmastime. We delight in making children feel that we love them by giving them toys and things which make them happy. The Christmas tree on Christmas morning provides so many of us with special moments of joy as we delight in seeing the eyes of our little ones sparkle with glad surprise.

Christmas stirs my heart because of the way we all want our friends to know that we are thankful for them. What are Christmas cards but a lovely way of expressing to our loved ones and friends that we care about them. Our cards have interesting messages on them but the cards themselves are messages of love which we feel free to express to others at this time of the year.

Christmas warms my heart because of the way many people are so thankful for the least little thing. Stop by to wish a shut-in friend a simple "Merry Christmas" and that lonely person makes you feel you have done a marvelous thing. No gifts are exchanged, but you go on your way feeling so blessed because you took the time to care.

Christmas is special because it makes us want to sing and to enjoy the singing of others. Youth who go "caroling" probably never quite understand how much it means to the folks who are honored by their singing. The songs of Christmas lift our spirits as they remind us of Rudolph, Santa, silver bells, snowmen, and the baby asleep on the hay.

Christmas has a way of attracting us to church, to experience the awe and wonder of worship, and to feel the "goose bumps" that come as we share in singing with fellow strugglers, "O come let us adore Him."

Christmas makes us want to put aside our petty grievances with others and find ways to be become friends again. Like no other this season reminds us that love is truly the greatest thing in the world.

Christmas is that wonderful time of the year when we want to find a quiet place where we can reflect on how blessed we are, in spite of our problems. We may even take a walk at night, look up at the twinkling stars, and offer a word of gratitude for life itself.

I have an idea that the One who first thought of Christmas, and decided to make it happen, is mighty pleased when we permit this special time of the year to influence the way we live with each other. When I am still, and very quiet, I think I can hear Him say softly, "Merry Christmas!"