I love Christmas! It’s a season of cheer and goodwill, wrapped in red and green. There’s an extra skip in our step and a song in our heart as the calendar unfolds and Christmas approaches. Christmas is a holy hug from heaven.
As BO Baker wrote, “It’s a carol of hope in a world of broken dreams . . . It’s the coming into time of the Saviour, Jesus Christ; a God-kind of joy lying in a manger; the hope of heaven in a mother’s arms . . .”
In no particular order, here are ten things I love about Christmas.
First, Christmas music, but not too early. I enjoy the sounds of the season more after Thanksgiving day. There’s something odd about mixing Halloween and Christmas music when we haven’t even arrived at Thanksgiving. Once the turkey settles, bring it on.
Second, preaching on Christmas themes. This year’s series was “Unwrapping the Gifts of Christmas.” Each Sunday a different set of worshippers lighted the appropriate Advent candle and led in scripture reading and prayer. The sermons centered on God’s gifts of hope, peace, joy and love.
Third, trimming the tree and decking the house. We pick the tree out Friday after Thanksgiving, get it into place and then I have my annual wrestling match with tree lights. Then the kids hang ornaments. We call it our “memory tree” since many ornaments are hand-made products of our kids’ childhoods.
Fourth, giving gifts. I enjoy the satisfaction of selecting and sharing a tangible token of love. Shopping is not high on my list. I’m “in and out.” Either they have it or they don’t. Life’s too short to browse.
I make shopping an adventure. I’ve had enough Clark Howard and Dave Ramsey to ask before every sale, “Is this the best price you can give me on this item?” It never hurts to ask, does it? Another version is, “Do you have any coupons or price breaks I don’t know about that would help with this purchase?”
Last Christmas, I was purchasing a ladder for my new son-in-law. I asked the cashier, “Is this the best price you can give me?”
She replied that the only discount they gave was to military. “Are you military?”
“No, I’m not.” And then this statement popped into my mind and out of my mouth. “But I am in the Lord’s army.”
She said, “Just a minute,” then turned and walked away. She came back and said, “You’ve got a ten percent discount!” I took it!
Fifth, people’s generosity and acts of kindness. I love to see Christmas spirit in action. People seem to be nicer this time of year.
Sixth, family time. We are at a stage where our children are spread out and this year are coming home in shifts. So we’ll make every moment count. The moments with our parents and siblings are few and far between, but we see some of them at Christmas. Time with family is a special present.
Seventh, baking and eating Christmas goodies. This is the only time of year that we get certain goodies. My wife’s sugar cookies, chocolate crinkles and magic cookies squares are tops!
Eighth, hearing the Christmas story. It’s still the greatest story ever told! God’s timing in sending Jesus, the way God used ordinary people, the mystery of the virgin birth, the impact of the incarnation, the simplicity of Bethlehem. Christmas reminds us that God is great. Read again Luke 2:8-20.
Ninth, the Christmas Eve service. The rush is over, and it’s time to pause and ponder the coming of Jesus. The service is warm, informal, worshipful and meaningful. The dark sanctuary is slowly illuminated as we sing “Silent Night” and each worshiper lights his or her candle.
Tenth, Christmas morning. Exchanging gifts, laughing, sharing and building memories. Time around the tree, breakfast casserole, and remembering to center Christmas around Jesus and thank God for His indescribable gift.
I wish for you and yours a very Merry Christmas!
Dr. David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church. The church family invites you to join them for Christmas Eve at 6 p.m. and for worship this Sunday at 10:55 a.m. The church is located at 352 McDonough Road, just past the department of drivers’ services building. Visit them on the web at www.mcdonoughroad.org.