Almost every year I agree with Zach Williams’ song - “I don’t wanta take the lights down off the tree, pack up all the stockings and pull down the wreath, I Don’t Want Christmas to End.”
I love Christmas and I usually hate to see it end. I have looked forward with anticipation to that special day since I was four years old...probably before that, but that’s as far back as I can remember. Other than Ebenezer Scrooge, who doesn’t? And old Scrooge had a change of heart that gave him a love for Christmas Day, too, remember?
The most recent Christmas held some precious moments for me and for my family, but I must confess - if I’m honest - that this Christmas brought a mixture of emotions to my heart. I never want the true meaning of Christmas to pass. I am thankful every day that “...in the fulness of time God sent forth His Son, made of a woman...to redeem (us)...” But this time, by the middle of January, I feel like one of our decorations - that is still up - where Santa is passed out on his back, on the floor. The caption reads, “Is it over yet?”
This year we celebrated three times, so far, and we still have some gifts to exchange with a fourth child of ours. And our decorations are still up. Is it over yet?
It started with our Wilmington daughter and precious Katie Grace coming over the mountains in zero temperatures to be with us. Near the Tennessee / North Carolina border they stopped, got out of the car and played in the snow...for ninety seconds. Then jumped back in and shivered the rest of the way to Bristol. K.G. wanted a white Christmas. She got over that real quick. The little beach girl had never before been so cold it made her cry. It was so cold our heat pump wouldn’t warm up our downstairs. We woke up on Christmas morning to 45-degree temps...in the house!
Almost everyone got here, and that was wonderful, but next year we’re all going to be here at the same time. And it’s going to be warmer, even if it snows, which would be nice. Don’t ask me how. We may have to eat in front of a roaring fire...at Cracker Barrel. There were other bumps in the road, but I still love to celebrate Jesus’s birthday - all year.
Let me share with you the most precious story from the most recent Christmas season. B.C. Stout of Trade, TN has been the song leader, taught Sunday School and was very involved in the food pantry ministry at our church in Mountain City. B.C. had many complications following open heart surgery a few weeks ago. As Christmas Day drew near, he was confined to an Intensive Care Unit and his greatest wish was to be home for Christmas. But on December 25 he was still in an ICU bed.
When I visited him in the hospital, I was hopeful; but I knew his chances of walking out of the hospital were not good. On January 6, B.C.’s daughter texted me that her daddy had passed away at 5:58 AM. And so this humble gentleman who had loyally served his country as a member of the U.S. Army and continued to serve as a member of the honor guard in the American Legion; this man who served his community in many ways, including tax assessor of Johnson County; this gentleman who had faithfully served Christ and his church went to be with his Lord.
It is very appropriate that a man who loved Christmas, whose favorite Christmas song was “Beautiful Star of Bethlehem”, who wanted to be home for Christmas, went to his heavenly home on the day remembered as “Old Christmas”, the Twelfth Day of Christmas, Three Kings Day, or Epiphany.
Truly Christmas can sometimes be very challenging, but what a special day and season. Let’s celebrate all year. Celebrate the reality that God sent His Son into the world to be our Savior so we can someday be at home with Him. Home for Christmas.
--Steve Playl, firstname.lastname@example.org
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