“A Mother and a Church at Christmastime”
Pastor Barry Klein, Staples Church of Christ
I had the privilege of growing up in a loving, Christian family. Oh, that more adults could have that same childhood experience! (What can each of use do to encourage that in our families and families around us?)
There are rich, enduring memories of growing up on so many levels, but certainly Christmastime was a highlight. My stay-at-home mother would decorate the living room and sun room in a “bigger than life” way.
First, there were the Christmas cards that we were receiving in the mail that would outline the threshold between the living room and sun room. (By the way, that “sun room” had to be heavily partitioned off with a thick curtain in the wintertime for many years because there was no “octopus” furnace heat duct to it!) Then, when we did eventually have heat in the sun room, the windows were outlined with lights and three red plastic blinking bells lit up the east center window for all to enjoy, both in passing by on the street and inside. (It was such a privilege, at Evelyn Adams’ sale, to get a duplicate of those same bells decades later!) Then, of course, there was the annual tradition of going to a community Christmas tree lot to pick out our annual family Christmas tree. When it was brought home, it would first be put in a five gallon bucket of water on the porch to begin sucking up water. When the tree was finally put in the stand in the living room, my mother would decorate the tree with vivid ornaments and multi-colored lights (yes, those bigger hot ones before miniature lights). The evergreen pine aroma filled the house.
The church family life was equally engaging and memory-filled with Christmas programs and gift exchanges. One year, as a young adolescent, we picked names out of a hat so that we could buy a present to give secretly to another young group member. This particular Christmas, I found out that there wasn’t a present for me. I hope that I didn’t dwell on it for very long, but in January, I was given a gift of a wrapped up bag of Twizzlers. Now that connected with my taste buds! But, the far more important back story was that I found out that it was from a child in a very poor, challenged family within our church family. There was no money in December to buy gifts for other children.
Back to my mother, there was a family Christmas when a gift to my mother somehow got lost. There we were, all the rest of our family of six with presents before us, but my mother had none. Like the giving mother she is, she made no issue of it, enjoying what the rest of us were receiving.
At Christmas, remember the many who did not receive presents. How can you choose one or two to make a difference in their lives? Read Romans 8:32 and gain the real present perspective as Jesus is the greatest gift God has given to all of us. It puts all other presents in their proper place! You also might find II Corinthians 8:9 fascinating as we learn how Jesus’ own poverty makes us rich!!