December 25th 2022 will mark my 70th Christmas. I was approximately 16 weeks old on my first Christmas Day here on planet earth. I, obviously, do not remember one thing about that December 25th in 1952. (Insert memory joke about being 70 plus years old on 12/25/22 here). I do recall dozens of Christmas days since, approximately, 1958 or 1959. Most every one of these recollections are quite pleasant and they invoke some powerful memories. Well, there are those days when I ripped open my presents only to find Chapstick, socks, shoe polish, and/or underwear. But that’s okay. Memories. That is probably the first step in getting one’s self in the proper head space for Christmas.
There are far too many beautiful recollections to share here, but I will reveal that I am sickeningly sentimental when it comes to Christmas memories. Let them wash over you and weep unashamedly if that works for you. It’s that time of year. Faith, family, friends and, yes, football, at the core of it all. That first Christmas you were married. Also the first one you celebrated when you had welcomed a child into your home. You get the picture. Memories.
When we joined Heritage Baptist Church in December of 2013, we experienced our first holiday season of Advent. That has added wonderful new layers of meaning and expectation as we move toward the coming of the Christ child. Advent calendars, candles, and devotionals are great portals into the celebration of His birth.
Ornaments. These tree decorations are essential in the righting of head and heart. In each one there is, at minimum, a memory and often there is a story behind every single ornament. We have ornaments from when our children were pre-schoolers, on up through their youth, and into adulthood. And then come the grandchildren to begin an entire new array of tree hangings. along with the lights and new trees that find a place in our humble abode. I can sit for many hours staring at the trees and other decorations which adorn our home in the days leading up to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Last but not least… there is music. You have beautiful hymns on one end, such as ‘Oh Holy Night’ and goofy songs like ‘Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer’ on the opposite end of the spectrum of holiday music. And there’s not anything quite like music to touch the soul, quicken the spirit, and stir deep emotions in our hearts and heads.
Of course there are the gifts, the egg nog, the bountiful meals, and so much more that make Christmas what it is. But most of all, it is the birth of the child, our Lord, our Savior, our friend… Jesus, that is the centerpiece of the entire Christmas experience. Advent.
“The word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish.”
John 1:14. The Message
Grace and peace and Merry Christmas to one and all!
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