Altar Call -- Opelika-Auburn News
Walter Albritton
December 9, 2001

What makes Christmas so special?

What makes Christmas such a special time of the year? No doubt every one of us could offer dozens of reasons. Let me share a few of mine.

Anticipation is surely one thing. Beginning with Thanksgiving we begin to anticipate Christmas. Most of us do so joyfully. We have learned from past experience that it is usually a wonderful time of the year. As the 25th day of December nears, we are all much like children -- eager for the day to come! Life without the thrill of anticipation could hardly be tolerated.

The songs of Christmas make it special. We never sing "Silent Night" or "Joy to the World" in April or May, but we would not want to go through December without experiencing the warm glow that comes from singing these precious songs with others who love them. Even the secular songs are a delight. Who does not enjoy singing "Jingle Bells" or "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" or "Frosty the Snowman" during this season. The music of Christmas seems to put a spring in our step and a smile on our lips.

The lovely way we decorate our homes, businesses, and the community itself makes Christmas special. At no other time of the year do we hang lights and wreaths everywhere, or go to such an extent to add bright colors to the bleakness of life. Beautiful red and green ribbons, and clothes, cheer us up as we delight in dressing up ourselves and our homes.

Our kitchens come alive with the sweet aroma of Christmas foods. Mama bakes delicious cakes and pies, and even old Bubba will toast some pecans or even try his hand at baking a turkey. The food of Christmastime makes it very special, not to mention the thrill of sitting down at a large table to eat with family members and relatives we may not have seen for many months.

Snow makes Christmas special for us. I prefer mostly the kind that comes out of a can, or the snow we see on television when we watch children laughing and playing on three feet of snow in upper New York state. But sometimes it snows in Alabama, and we chuckle to see how one inch of snow can paralyze the traffic in our area. If it snows this year, you can be sure we will all rush out to take pictures of the children throwing snowballs or building snowmen.

Trees loaded with tinsel, lights, and angels make Christmas fun for us. Chop down a tree and drag it into the house in July and your family would sign you up for the funny farm. But in December you are a killjoy if you balk at putting up a tree. Admittedly the tree runs up the water bill. My tree is drinking almost a quart a day. But Christmas morning would not be the same without a tree, with gift surprises underneath it, and little children eager to find out what Santa brought them.

For many of us Christmas is also special because it is a spiritual experience, a kind of journey to Bethlehem to celebrate once again the birth of the Savior named Jesus. Amidst all the wrapping paper, the tinsel, the music, the smell of food, and the tension of this busy season, many of us are remembering that it is more important for Jesus to come into our hearts than it is for Santa to come down the chimney.