Altar Call –
December 20, 2009
No morning of the year is quite as exciting as
Christmas morning! There is no other morning like it. Excitement abounds. Unlike most mornings,
little children bounce eagerly out of bed, and often before sunrise!
Mom and Dad
are usually not bright-eyed like the kids. Many times my wife and I stayed up
past midnight only to have our young boys wake us at six o'clock in the morning.
They could not wait to show us what Santa had left them under the tree! Bleary-eyed, we begged for mercy. But the kids
were merciless. Sleep another hour? Heavens no! Christmas day had begun!
The time had come to stagger out of bed, put on some coffee,
and hope for a nap in the afternoon. Cruel it would be to force eager children
to wait any longer. There were exciting discoveries to be made as our family
gathered around the tree to share the awe and wonder of another Christmas
What precious memories we have of those mornings when our
boys were growing up. I can still recall the amazed look in their eyes as they
examined and took possession of each gift.
All the while Mom and I were praying they would be pleased with the
inexpensive things we were able to buy them.
Rarely were we able to give them some of the expensive things
they wished for – like a "Go Cart" with a gasoline engine. Whenever I
saw a child with a nice Go Cart, I remembered how my boys wanted one. They were
disappointed but so was I. It was difficult to explain to them why our budget would
not stretch that far.
I remember wanting things when I was a boy that my parents
could not afford. And I recall my joy when one Christmas my folks were able to
give me my first new bicycle. Before that the gift that had thrilled me the
most was a BB-Gun. It had been cleverly hidden inside the Christmas tree so
that I did not notice it until all the other gifts had been opened.
The wonder of it all is that most children are somehow able
to accept happily what they do receive. I never remember a child sulking on
Christmas day because a particular gift was not under the tree. Nor did I.
One of our traditions was to hang stockings over the
fireplace. The stockings had our names inscribed on them. It was fun to dump
out the small items in the stocking, things like gum, candy, apples, oranges,
nuts, socks, knives, nail clippers, and sometimes a dollar or two.
When we were small my mother always left some fruit cake and
milk for Santa. And Santa must have eaten it; the plate was always empty on
Christmas morning. I never questioned how jolly old Saint Nick got down our
chimney. Mysteries would not concern me until much later in life.
Now on Christmas morning we have no little children to get us
up early. Our children have children of their own, and at their homes they
continue the exciting traditions begun in our home. Mom and I will get up
fairly early anyway because old folks just cannot sleep very late.
But we have not lost the thrill of sharing those joyous moments
when we look under the tree to see what surprises are there. Old Santa still
finds his way to our house to leave a few gifts that cause our aging eyes to
sparkle. My wife will smile and hug me and I will grin and hug her because
there is simply nothing like Christmas morning.
By the time we have scrambled some eggs and fried some bacon,
the grandkids will be banging on the door, shouting "Christmas gift!"
And for a few precious moments we will gather around the tree and share the joy
of exchanging gifts.
Often one of the grandchildren will give me a pair of socks,
size 12, and I will smile and say thanks even though I wear size 14. What
matters is not the size or the cost of the gift but the love we share as a
family. A sense of belonging to a family – that is what makes Christmas morning
When you wake up Friday morning, pinch yourself and rejoice
that you are alive to greet another dawn. And remember that the best part of
waking up on Christmas morning is not the coffee in your cup, but the love
that's in your heart! Hug somebody and rejoice that you have lived to enjoy
another morning like no other! If you live alone, refuse to feel sorry for
yourself. Call someone and speak those magic words: Merry Christmas! + + +