Altar Call -- Opelika-Auburn News
Walter Albritton
December 13, 2009

Why Christmas is such a special time of the year

Ponder with me why Christmas is so special. The very word “Christmas” makes my heart sing. Since I was a small boy writing letters to Santa Claus I have loved this wonderful time of the year. But what makes it special?

Is it not the thrill of anticipation -- expecting something wonderful to happen?  Anticipation adds zest to life. As we celebrate Thanksgiving we begin to anticipate Christmas. Most of us do so with wonder and joy. We have learned from past experience that good things happen at Christmas. As the 25th day of December nears, most of us are like children -- eager for the day to come! Life without the thrill of anticipation would be misery compounded.

The music of Christmas makes it special. We never sing "Silent Night" or "Joy to the World" in April or May; but who would want to live through December without the warm glow that comes from singing these songs with others who love them! And no December is complete without listening again to the majestic sound of Handel’s Messiah. Few things can set my heart on fire quite like The Hallelujah Chorus.

Of course the secular songs of Christmas are also delightful. Only Ebenezer Scrooge and his kin do not enjoy singing "Jingle Bells" or "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" or "Frosty the Snowman." An old favorite of mine is “I saw Mama kissing Santa Claus underneath the mistletoe last night.” But perhaps the most delightful of all is “Winter Wonderland.” The music and the lyrics make me want to go on a sleigh ride with my sweetie. Ah, Christmas music! It puts a spring in my step and a smile on my lips.

Colorful decorations make Christmas special. Most of us delight in decorating not only our homes but our stores, streets and public places.  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 in the home, the school, and the work place. .

Then there is the food of Christmas!  Our kitchens come alive with the sweet aroma of foods that make us merry – and overweight.  Mama bakes delicious cakes and pies, and even old Bubba will toast some pecans and try his hand at baking a turkey. While the food of Christmastime is delicious to the palate, there is also the thrill of sitting down at a large table to eat with family members we may not have seen for many months.

Snow makes Christmas special too. I prefer 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. When sometimes it snows in Alabama 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, if a live one, may run up the water bill.  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 some of us Christmas is 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, we are wise to remember that it is more important for Jesus to come into our hearts than it is for Santa to come down the chimney. + + +