"LOVE CAME DOWN AT CHRISTMAS." What beautiful words. Christmas, the most wonderful time of the year. As you look around you can see Santa’s elves hustling and bustling to meet the deadline of Christmas delivery. Every Sunday School Class, organization, club, and just plain folk seeing to the needs of the less fortunate. What a loving community we live in. I would like to share with you one of Mama’s "This and That" columns written in 1984.
THIS and THAT by Estella Szegedin.
Oh! The wonderful excitement of Christmas. Can you imagine the excitement that night in the hills of Judea that the shepherds experienced? What a night! What a calm and what an air of excitement of something unexplained. Even the sheep were restless. Then the angels in the heavens and the announcement. "Today is born a savior, a baby—you will find him wrapped in swaddling cloth and lying in a manger—in the city of Bethlehem." What excitement so much so the shepherds went to see this great thing and it was such a great thing, so tremendous that men quit counting time according to custom. His birth was the watershed of history. Time before that great advent of the birth of Jesus was called B.C. Before Christ. From that day it was A.D. meaning In the Year of Our Lord.
So great was the birth now after some 2,000 years, his birthday will cause traffic jams and such. It will cause folk to share their great joy with friends and strangers alike. The great Christ love caused the good Samaritan to stop and help the man who had been robbed and left dying by the roadside. The Christ love can change the life of everyone who will let him be born anew in the manger of their own hearts. Christmas is simply a happy time.
Most of us have special memories of a particular Christmas. The most remembered one of my family was the year Santa brought Pat a donkey. I believe he was 6 the following March. I recall the weather was rain, sleet and snow, very cold and Bert Bolin hauled firewood for Bud Williamson on that day to pay for the jenny that was tied to a cedar tree in the back yard that night. In the night it brayed and Pat hit the floor and ran to his father’s bed and said, "I heard something say, "Hee-Haw! Hee-Haw!" His father told him it was likely a reindeer and to go back to sleep. Pretty soon it brayed again and there was no going to bed. Bert and the kids were out wading in the snow to find what said, "Hee-Haw!" Never has an animal brought so much happiness to so many children as the little black jenny.
First they drove a sled, then a wagon made with cultivator wheels. All the kids of Pat’s acquaintance thought they owned the jenny. They rode it as many as could climb on at one time. They used the wagon to haul wood and such. For several years Jen (as they called it) was one of our family.
Time marches on, leaving behind memories of a many happy Christmas. Community Christmas trees, stuffed stockings by the fireplace. All because of the birth of the baby Jesus. Those who know Jesus personally cannot help being excited, not only at this time of year but at all times.
As a fish lives in water we live in God’s love. He is with us always. Can you watch a sun rise with all its beautiful colors without saying, "This is a day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it." Or watch a sunset without feeling that he is with us? In the rustling grass we hear him pass. He is with us at all times. So Christmas is a day to be excited.
And now we face a new year and it will be full of opportunity. As John Oxemham said:
Not for one single day, Can I discern my way, But this I surely know, Who gives the day, Will show the way, So I securely go.