Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
December 16, 2018
ready for Christmas once again
Our Christmas tree is up once again. Took me 15 minutes. Got it out of
the box it came in. Had no trouble finding it. I keep it in the garage. It’s
three years old but the lights still work and it looks mighty fine.
Christmas Dean suggests we buy a “real” tree. I talk her out of it by reminding
her that “real” trees are actually dying trees. We have to stand them in a
bucket of water to keep them alive until Santa comes. Killing trees is bad for
the earth. It robs the planet of oxygen
needed by the exploding world population. So I say, use an artificial tree and
save the world.
year I promise myself that I will never put a box in the garage without writing
on the outside a description of its contents. But I get in a hurry and forget
to mark the boxes. So in early December the frustrating ritual occurs again: we
have to open 19 boxes to find the 10 boxes full of Christmas decorations. The
Lord willing, this year I will not forget.
loves angels so we have about 77 of various sizes. She knows them all by name
so I keep emptying boxes until all the angels are on display again. Her sister
Dot, who went to live with real angels 22 years ago, gave Dean a lovely porcelain
“village” which is always prominently displayed. I am still looking for the box
it is stored in. But I will find it. It won’t be Christmas without it.
the home is hard work but it is also fun. Some people are better at decorating
than others. Dean is good at it. She makes our house come alive with three trees,
dozens of colored lights, 77 angels and 49 candles. And why not? Being content
with dull, drab and dreary is no way to live.
I feel sad when someone says they dread Christmas. Bitter memories are
behind that dread and they add depression to the yuletide season. I understand
that and hurt with those who can’t stand Christmas. But I have wonderful
memories of Christmas. It has been the most special day of the year for me all
my life. I loved Christmas as a child and I loved it when our children were
small. And I love it when grandchildren and great grandchildren gladden our
home with their presence at Christmas.
love the songs of Christmas, the sacred and the secular. I get chill bumps when
someone sings “O Holy Night” and I love the thrill of singing “Jingle Bells”
with little children. Christmas music puts a spring in our step and a smile on our lips.
And only Scrooge fails to smile when someone sings “I Saw Mama kissing Santa
I love the food of Christmas but even more the thrill of having our
family share a meal together. All families have problems. Differences divide
families. Bitter feelings can stay alive too long. But somehow sharing a
Christmas meal can inspire the forgiveness that restores relationships. I have
seen it happen. I pray it will continue to happen.
is many things. It is about snow, tinsel, gifts, lights, angels, candles,
candy, Santa Claus, stockings hanging over a fireplace, singing, worship, and a
thousand other things. Can we include Santa without giving up our faith in
Jesus? I think so. I think Jesus likes to see us exchange gifts and share our
love for one another. But I believe he wants each of us to find a way to be a
blessing to the poor. Christmas always means more when we share the gifts God
has given us with “the least of these,” our brothers and sisters who need food,
heat, clothing, shelter, a blanket and enough love to make it through the
Followers of Jesus will focus more on Jesus than
Santa. Jesus, after all, is the reason for the season and his birth is what
Christmas is really all about. Had that baby of all babies not been born in
Bethlehem, there would be no Christmas! Amidst all the wrapping paper, the
tinsel, the gifts, the music and the smell of good food, Christmas is a time to
celebrate God’s decision to become flesh and dwell among us. Far more important
than the story of Santa coming down the chimney is the glorious truth that the
holy child of Bethlehem can cast out our sin and enter our hearts with his
In every home, in every family, before sleep
overtakes us on Christmas night, let someone say, Thank
you loving Father for sending your son Jesus to save us from our sins and show
us how to live! + + +