Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, everyone.

We hope today will be a meaningful celebration for you of the birth of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who is the Incarnation of God and the ultimate Word and Expression of God. Moreover, through his Crucifixion we have available to us the cleansing of our spirits--though our sins be scarlet they shall be as white as snow--so we can boldly go before the Father's throne. With his Resurrection, he makes available to us eternal life. All we need to do is repent of our sins, believe in him and accept him into our lives by faith.

Often, people complain that Christmas has "gotten too commercial." It never has for me or my family. I choose not to get "commercial." Usually, the choice has been thrust upon me; I've never had enough money to engage in much commerce, what metropolitan transplants to rural areas call "serious shopping" as they complain that there's not enough of it available out here in the hinterlands. I think my low-to-moderate income has been a blessing, for it has forced me to focus my Christmastime attention on music, stories, recipes, family and church. Instead of focusing on getting presents or buying presents, I've thought most about the manger.

This has been a wonderful Advent season, perhaps the best in a long time. Our Christmas activities have included helping put up the church decorations at the parsonage, participating in the Hanging of the Green service at church, singing in the chuch cantata choir, joining other members of the congregation in the annual Christmas carry-in dinner and candlelight service. We also attended our grandson's school Christmas program and we ate chili at the Red Cross Christmas chili lunch fund-raiser. I threw money several times in the Salvation Army bucket at Wal-Mart and gave to our church's Christmas foreign missions offering. At home, we watched several Christmas movies and TV specials. I've listened to a lot of Christmas music on the radio, on CD and on streaming audio.

I've got a pretty full Christmas feeling, and nary a bit of it has come from commercialism. I simply refuse to get involved in that. We gave one gift each to our three grandchildren. I'm not buying for the rest of the family; they've got jobs and everything they need.

If you're tired of "commercialism" in your Christmas season, you can make choices. You've heard the phrases "put Christ back in Christmas" and "keep Christ in Christmas." You can do that.

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