Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas memories and joy

Christmas, what do I remember, so much, perhaps too much? Trees with crepe paper and tinsel. Snowy Missouri hills with sleds and aunts and uncles. A wagon ride across the frozen creek to cut a tree. Mama cooked the turkey in her new pressure cooker and it fell apart.

And then there was the one where mama was in the hospital and I took care of my little sister Beth, slept on the sofa next to the Christmas tree lights and received my first present from a boyfriend; a record with two new songs on it. “The little Drummer Boy” was on one side and “You are Beautiful” on the other; the one from the Broadway musical “The Flower Drum Song,” not the movie. By the time the movie came to the theatres I was married—to someone else.

And the Christmas my husband was just home from back surgery. I went to the front yard and cut a large pine branch and stapled it to the wall. That was our Christmas tree. Two churches, an Assemblies of God and a Seventh Day Adventist supplied us with wonderful food and jeans for all three boys. And our pastor, at Warehouse Ministries, when we went to Church took my husband’s hand and silently placed money in it. I still remember needing fifty dollars to pay the telephone bill—some friends came to visit and handing us an envelope said it was God’s gift. Of course there was fifty dollars inside. That was God’s gracious Christmas.

And just one more. A Christmas I remember filled with lights, and laughter, food and friends. I remember singing together and that one of my sons, on Christmas Eve night, in the midst of all the fun and joy led another young man to Christ. And that really is what Christmas is about, the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

See, amid the winter's snow,

Born for us on Earth below,
See, the tender Lamb appears,
Promised from eternal years.

Chorus:Hail, thou ever blessed morn,
Hail redemption's happy dawn,
Sing through all Jerusalem,
Christ is born in Bethlehem.

Lo, within a manger lies
He who built the starry skies;
He who, throned in height sublime,
Sits among the cherubim.

Say, ye holy shepherds,say,
What your joyful news today;
Wherefore have ye left your sheep
On the lonely mountain steep?

"As we watched at dead of night,
Lo, we saw a wondrous light:
Angels singing 'Peace On Earth'
Told us of the Saviour's birth."

Sacred Infant, all divine,
What a tender love was Thine,
Thus to come from highest bliss
Down to such a world as this.

Teach, O teach us, Holy Child,
By Thy face so meek and mild,
Teach us to resemble Thee,
In Thy sweet humility.

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