Dec. 18, 2012 — Christmas time brings many, many emotions. They emerge as we wait for Dec. 25, a day that has become special for millions of people. The season seems to build, much like a great piece of music written for the symphony with Christmas as the crescendo. It is an expectant time; a hopeful time; a joyful time.
As a child I would begin the month lying on my stomach in the middle of the living room, pouring over catalogues mailed by Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward. The pages were filled with magnificent possibilities for boxes wrapped and piled under the tree.
My three sisters, brother and I would form a circle around the pile of presents beneath the tree and with CSI (crime scene investigation) skills, read nametags and squeeze and shake the gifts. Our tree was decorated Dec. 21 as part of my sister, Jennifer’s, birthday celebration.
Each day leading to Christmas was special. We baked cookies and delivered plates of them to friends. We piled into the back of my uncle’s pickup and drove from house to house to Christmas carol. At every house those inside came out to listen and pass around a box of candy. They were our neighbors; our faces were familiar and they knew our names. I grew up in a rural area with cattle ranches and country homes surrounded by property.
The elementary school was small, but the Christmas program was elaborate. Students learned lines for a play, recited poetry and sang Christmas carols that announced the birth of Jesus Christ.
In the evening my mother often played those wonderful carols on the piano. My grandmother, Gladys Cort, would make a plum pudding for our Christmas dinner and give us a tin of vegetarian mincemeat tarts.
Often adults lose the wonder of the season. As they scramble to bake they no longer savor the taste of a cookie glistening with sugar; as they rush to buy gifts they no longer anticipate the excitement of opening a package; as they rummage through the garage for decorations and get the tree up they are no longer awestruck by lights reflecting off the ornaments.
I lost the wonder of Christmas I had as a child for a time but have since gotten it back. That happened when I fully embraced the “reason for the season”… a celebration of the birth of Christ and the result of that so often stated in carols — “God and sinner reconciled.” Fellowship with God was broken when sin entered the world but restoration became available to all sinners when Jesus, a Savior, was born. It occurred at the appointed time. I love the way the Apostle Paul described the birth of Christ in Galatians 4:4 — “When the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth his Son.”
That expectancy, hopefulness and joy has returned as I pour over God’s Word, Christmas devotionals and readings for advent, rather than catalogues. As I celebrate the birth of Jesus, described in one devotional as — “the most remarkable event in human history.”
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