Thursday, December 3, 2009

Do You Hear What I Hear?

So...this is Christmas. I heard the bells the other day in front of the Walmart...silver bells rung by the tired, cold and wet Salvation Army member who hoped for a few donations in his bucket. Jingle, jingle, jingle went the handful of coins the child before me dropped through the slot in the red pail.

There's a star in the East, shining brightly on these cold winter nights. It reminds us of the First Noel, when Mary's boy child, Jesus Christ, was found by Three Kings, away in a manger in a little village of Bethlehem. On a very Silent Night, the shepherds watched their flocks, and one might have said, 'hark, the herald angels sing Glory to the new-born king!' In the deep mid-winter, long, long ago, that Christmas time was very different from the way we celebrate today. People saw a child who'd been born in a manger, and they asked, 'what child is this?' Today, most of us know in our hearts that it was the birthday of a King, and yet, we continue to deck the halls with bows of holly and have ourselves a merry little Christmas, with too little thought of the real significance of Christ's birth.

I wonder, as I wander, how we've gotten so far from the true meaning of Christmas. How did Jolly Old Saint Nicholas become a star of wonder? Are the wrapped presents he brings more precious than the son of God, wrapped in swaddling clothes? Is the mystery of such a special child being born to become the Savior of all mankind so much less important than the mystery of a fat, bearded man who has reindeer who fly him through a dark night?

As we watch the faces of our tiny tots, with their eyes all aglow with the reflection of Christmas lights on the tree, let us teach them to bow and offer thanks to God for the blessings He gave us when He sent us the gift of His only Son. When we walk through the winter wonderland, surrounded by the holly and the ivy, let us focus on the rugged stall in Bethlehem and what happened there. While we are filling the stockings before the fireplace, let the bright flame of Jesus abide in our hearts and let Him fill us with the love He'd have us to give to others.

However you choose to celebrate this season, we wish you a merry Christmas, Joy to the world...and may God rest ye, merry gentlemen!