Christmas meaning never changes

Published 1:33 pm Friday, December 24, 2010

By Rev. Keith Mayfield

Once again we have the wonderful opportunity to celebrate another holiday.

For many, it’s a time to give others and ourselves gifts that we have not had time or a reason to give before. This makes us feel good and special, and takes away some of the guilt we carry from day to day because we are too busy, we fail to appreciate on a daily basis one another for some kind deed or helping hand. Let’s not forget that extra day off from work or daily occupation, or time out from school for the kids.

Christmas: The Rev. Keith Mayfield and his wife, Sandra, pose with photos of their children last year. Sandra recently passed away, and while the Rev. Mayfield says it won’t be the same without her, the everlasting meaning of Christmas never changes.

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The question asked of me and the reason for writing this article is “What does Christmas mean to me?” When asking a question of someone, you should always have an open mind, because you are not going to get the same answer with regards to the question asked. You see, I am over 50 years of age now, I have grown children and we have grandchildren, and I know the truth about Santa Claus, so my response will be one very different of, let’s say, a 6-year-old little girl or boy you would ask. Let’s stop beating around the bush about this and get to the point.

Christmas is, to me, a reminder of the birth of our Lord Jesus, the Son of God, Who teaches us to love one another, be kind, to help the needy, poor, and be forgiving. Take time out for the elderly people we have all around us, and the greatest of all is to remember He came that we would live on because we are given eternal life and forgiveness through Him. My faith in God allows others and me alike to celebrate this joyous occasion. This time of year, many take time to do some of those things needed to be done, but for others, whatever the reason, we don’t get around to doing it, which is really sad. My family and I have been blessed over the years — some years, not having a lot of material things, and other times the children, my wife and I have had so much to be thankful for. Christmas is not about what you have or don’t have, as many may believe. So many only see Christmas one way. I am so thankful for God teaching my family and me this very important truth — Christmas should be a time of joy, fun, smiles, family and friends, making a difference thinking about others and a way to make a difference in their lives.

This Christmas has a different meaning to me because my beautiful and loving wife just passed away on Dec. 14, 2010. This will be the first year as a family that we celebrate Christmas without her by our side. The meaning of Christmas is the same because God is the same, but I have to confess that based on my feelings, it’s not the same for me at all. As hard as I try, it is still not the same. I have all the children around me and the love that they provide, but it’s the love of that special person that makes all the difference. For years, her smile has lit the room brighter than the Christmas tree. This year, that light is out. Life is short, so whatever the celebration, make the most of it in this life. Give all the love you can, while you can, because one Christmas you may only have memories to share and not the person that you would love to share it with. Merry Christmas to all, and remember the meaning of Christmas never changes.

With love and in memory of my wife, Sandra J. Mayfield, Jan. 11, 1955 to Dec. 14, 2010. Our family would like everyone to have a very merry Christmas.

The Rev. Keith Mayfield is the pastor of Little Zion Baptist Church on Sleepy Hole Road.