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Celebrate the reason

By Myrtle Virginia Thompson

It’s Christmas! Are you celebrating “the season” or “the reason”? Is it the tree, Santa, the beautiful decorations, the gifts received and being given? Even the manger scene? If so, you may feel a little “blue” or lonely when all is put away after Christmas. I hope you love the reason. The Baby born that night in Bethlehem Who outgrew the pile of hay on which He was laid was brought into the world to die for our sins. I wish you the happiness I have had in knowing Christ, the reason I celebrate Christmas. “The joy of the Lord is (my) strength” and “The peace of God passes all (my) understanding.” May it be the same for you as you celebrate.

Christmas is usually anticipated with joy. What it personally means to us is what will be important when the excitement wears off and we face a New Year. If we have that “let down” feeling, we need to remember “the reason for the season.”

I have some good childhood memories before Christmas was invaded with so much commercialization. My memories are not of getting lots of toys, not even the gift we asked for, but lovely surprises. We always got an orange, an apple and maybe a piece of candy in our “stocking.” There was no online shopping, but there was mail order, the fall version of the Sears thick catalog, a wishbook filled with what seemed like anything one could want or need. My sister and I spent hours scouring it, turning down pages with pictures of what we wished for. There would be just one gift on Christmas morning, usually clothing, but it did not stop our dreaming of other gifts. The year children’s fleece-lined “snow suits” became an item, we each got one. Hers was red, and mine was blue. Fleece-lined sweat shirts and pants are now a popular winter item and come in every size and color.

It was the 1930s, and I was about 7 or 8 years old when the first electric lines were being run on Route 17 where I lived in Deep Creek. There was a fee before electricity could be turned on in the houses, but our family had no money to pay it.

What happened then was what some would call a “Christmas miracle.” Brother Jack, a hunter, had earlier captured a mink. That Christmas Eve morning, a New York fur dealer happened to come by. He bought the skin for $10. Jack gave Mom the money. She changed her clothes and left for the bus into town to pay the bill.

Our tree, cut from the woods behind our house, was sparsely decorated Christmas Eve day. All was in place that night when daddy turned on the radio, one of the few things saved from the devastating house fire our family had experienced three years earlier. Christmas was celebrated with those songs about the birth of Jesus. We heard “heavenly” Christmas music that night. “Rudolph” and “White Christmas” came a few years later.

If we want this holiday to be an uplifting time, pointing us to a reason to celebrate, we need look no further than the Bible. Every part of the life of Jesus before He came into the world is in the Old Testament. The New Testament continues and confirms the story. Let’s not forget the reason for that babe in the manger was that the Eternal God put a part of Himself in that manger when Jesus came as a baby. He was God in human form, coming from the realms of glory to die for our sins. No one can say “God does not understand what I am going through.” There is no better reason to celebrate Christmas.

A very merry Christmas to all of you.

 

Myrtle V. Thompson is a 90-year-old retired missionary, educator and writer. Contact her at mvtgrt@gmail.com.