Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won’t make it ‘white’. —Bing Crosby
Christmas in Bethlehem. The ancient dream: a cold, clear night made brilliant by a glorious star, the smell of incense, shepherds and wise men falling to their knees in adoration of the sweet baby, the incarnation of perfect love. —Lucinda Franks
My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that? —Bob Hope
I’ve always loved Christmas, for oh so many reasons! Childhood memories are an amazing blessing to me, and probably something few American children experienced as beautifully as I did with my momma’s family.
Chicago was my home, but my other home was in northern Indiana on my maternal grandparent’s dairy farm. They lived through the depression and never had extra money, but there was always plenty of food and love for the family and especially the grandchildren. Being the first grandchild, I was more than blessed.
Christmas in Indiana
At Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas these great aunts and their families all got together for magnificent meals and fun for the children. They always shared who had the gatherings for these holidays, but Christmas was extra special.
At least 35 to 40 people gathered for Christmas Eve, and the older sisters made all the food. We would eat and then the children would wait for Santa. The men would smoke cigars and watch football and the women would play cards. The children waited for Santa and looked out the window hoping to catch a glimpse of his horse drawn sleigh. He had a leather string of those heavy bells and would jingle them when he’d arrived and we all knew he was there…the excitement filled the air.
When Santa arrived, he came in with huge red velvet bags loaded with presents. Those bags were loaded by the family and left at the back door. Santa really did have a horse drawn sleigh as long as it snowed, and it always seemed to! He would sit on a chair at the end of the room and pull out the presents and call the names. Even my grandma had to go get a present from Santa and sit on his lap.
I loved it, and can see the gatherings in my mind’s eye. This is what this lovely family of mine gave to all of us as memories. My little daughter experienced the same joy I had felt as a child when Santa arrived, she watched for him at the window, waiting in anticipation.
Here she is as a little one with our Indiana Santa. She couldn’t believe the length of his beard. She wanted to touch it, but told me she was afraid Santa wouldn’t approve…
Years later, my momma’s cousin told me that she still had the velvet bags for Santa’s gifts and she loved those days as well.
Close to midnight, the entire family left and went to church to honor the birth of our Saviour.
Our Indiana Santa
This wonderful gentleman who did this for so many families for so many years in this small northern Indiana town every Christmas Eve was just magnificent. I know our family paid him, but believe me, whatever they gave him was worth it.
My cousin Jenny happened to run into Santa one day. She didn’t know he was our Santa. He said, “Hello Jenny, I don’t have any presents for you right now.” Jenny didn’t know what to make of his comment and her look alerted Santa that he needed to explain. He told her who he was, a dentist in town who loved playing Santa every year for so many families. Jenny was shocked, and gave him a big hug, and that’s how we all found out who he was.
My momma’s family was large and beautiful and they gave me memories that are still in my mind and carry me through the joyous month of December and the birth of Messiah Jesus.
The Christmas Season
Years ago, I wrote an article entitled, The Christmas Thing. I always felt that the Holy Spirit of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob wrote that article for me. Even today if I read it, it brings me to tears. The one story in this article is so telling about our season of joy for Christ’s birth. Here it is:
“Who Started This Christmas Stuff?”
A woman was out Christmas shopping with her two children. After many hours of looking at row after row of toys and everything else imaginable; and after hours of hearing both her children asking for everything they saw on those many shelves, she finally made it to the elevator with her two kids.
She was feeling what so many feel during the holiday season time of the year – overwhelming pressure to go to every party, every housewarming, taste all the holiday food and treats, getting that perfect gift for every single person on our shopping list, making sure we don’t forget anyone on our card list, and the pressure of making sure we respond to everyone who sent us a card.
Finally, the elevator doors opened, and there was already a crowd in the car. She pushed her way into the car and dragged her two kids in with her and all the bags of stuff. When the doors closed, she couldn’t take it anymore and she stated, “Whoever started this whole Christmas thing should be found, strung up and shot.”
From the back of the car, everyone heard a quiet, calm voice respond, “Don’t worry, we already crucified Him.”
For the rest of the trip down in the elevator, it was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop. This year, don’t forget to keep “the One who started this whole Christmas thing” in your every thought, deed and words. If we all did it, just think of how different this whole world would be.
The Real Reason for the Season
Yes, the real reason for the season is that the Messiah, the very Son of God, God himself, came to earth and taught and preached and gave us His Word, and then He willingly went to the cross as the final sacrifice of the perfect lamb of God that takes away our sins. This is the joy that brings me hope and peace in my heart. Without knowing the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that very God that my family led me to as a child, I would be lost.
The entire month of December of every single year brings Jesus to the forefront of mankind. The lights on the trees and on the homes represent the candles on his birthday cake. The open doors of love represent the care we have as believers for those who are family, friends and folks who we care about.
The Christmas wreath is a never-ending ring, a reminder of eternal love from our Lord and King. The Christmas wreath is a sign of welcome, inviting all to enter in, a reminder of Christ’s invitation for all to come to Him. The middle of a Christmas wreath is a bare and empty space, a reminder of what life would be without Christ’s love and grace. So, each time you see a Christmas wreath hanging from a door, may your heart rejoice in the One that Christmas is truly for!
Why do I love Christmas? For many reasons, but especially because our Judeo-Christian society is blessed with the knowledge of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the knowledge that God Himself sent his only begotten Son to earth as man and God to be the final and forever sacrifice for our sins. We are so blessed.
May your Christmas and your celebration of the King of Glory’s birth remain in your heart throughout the year. Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday Jesus!
© 2018 Kelleigh Nelson – All Rights Reserved
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