I found this picture taken of me Christmas day back in 1955. It was the first Christmas that I remember. It was a very happy time.
The smell of the pine tree filled our modest home and the lights and ornaments added to the magic of the season.
Christmas carols played on the radio. The doll house my parents gave me was beyond my dreams. I even brought the angel from our nativity set to see the new house. An upgrade from the stable. The baby carriage would do nicely for the baby Jesus.
The times were simple then, and for me filled with good memories. Nobody got upset with Christmas. Kids made snowflakes to stick on the school windows, sung Christmas carols, and drew pictures of Christmas trees and snowmen. Stores became wonderlands and the smell of my mother’s Christmas cookies filled the air. As a child it was a time of joy and happiness.
Today, it is different. The other day, while I was standing in line to get my lunch at work, I overheard someone say how that hated the sounds of Christmas music playing in the stores. I mean they could not wait till Christmas was over. Then the following day I heard a similar comment. It took me by surprise.
Yes, I think Christmas is overly commercialized and many forget the true meaning of Christmas. But still, the comments seem to sting.
Now every year the news does a story covering the controversy of saying “Happy Holidays” over “Merry Christmas”, the banning of Nativity displays from public sites, schools renaming Christmas vacation as a holiday or winter vacation, and more. Just recently a football player was sidelined for getting on one knee and pointing up to the sky after a touch down. He was giving thanks to God. The school authorities did not want a public display of his beliefs because it might offend somebody.
How did we get from Bedford Falls to Pottersville?
If the Charlie Brown’s Christmas cartoon would be made today, would the true meaning of Christmas be cut from Linus’s speech?
Think of it for a moment. The message of Christmas tells good news for anyone that would listen. No threats, no name calling, no penalties, no charge, no message to incite violence or immoral actions, just a message of unconditional love that is offered to anyone that is willing to receive it. A sweet message that is so reviled by some that they want to censor it, stamping out a culture in what they call justice.
It is hard to believe that evil can mask itself in the clothes of justice. One of the best books I read is a short novel called “The Screwtape Letters” by C. S. Lewis. The senior devil councils the younger devil on being subtle. The persecution and murder of 6 million Jews, who committed no crime, grew out of the subtle steps of intolerance.
I am thankful that I still hear Christmas music in the stores. It gives me hope. Even through music the spiritual gift still reaches out to us. As we hear the tune of “Silent Night” lilting through the stores we are reminded not to forget. Those familiar sounds pull on our heart strings and lead us away from the coma of indifference.
One friend argued that the message of Christmas should be all year. I agree. But I argue that it is at this time of year the message bursts outwards as a reminder to those who have forgotten, and to those that do not know, an invitation that they might know. No other time of year would we hear such sweet sounds fill the world around us or be as generous.
So to you who have stopped by here, I pass glad tidings unto you. To remember the birth of Jesus Christ and the real gift he has given us and still does to this day. For He is the light and love that is given unto us so we don’t have to walk alone and perish through our own folly.
He is our ticket home.