GIVE MORE (Marg Simpson)
Christmas was a wonderful, exciting time for me as a child. Gifts were a small part of our lives. With six children in our family, it was difficult to provide the necessities, let alone extras.
The Christmas season was a busy time with school and church concerts and entertaining friends, neighbours and relatives. Our mother worked for weeks making cakes, cookies, fudge and chocolates. (I still use many of her recipes.) The four girls were encouraged to help with the baking but what I liked best was decorating. Streamers made of red and green crepe paper hung from corner to corner of the ceilings with huge paper bells in the centre. Stars, snowflakes and Santas filled every window, nook and corner of our house. There was always a nativity scene of some sort. The tree was loaded with lights, tinsel and lots of homemade decorations.
Sharing was a huge part of the season. An aunt was raising a family on her own. There was always a special parcel of gifts and food, including a turkey, for her. Whatever we had, part of it was set aside for her.
Christmas day was the best day of the year. We were each blessed with one gift and a clean stocking with a bit of candy, nuts and maybe an orange. I remember the whole family going sleigh riding Christmas afternoon and Santa just happened to leave a bag of candy in my dad’s jacket pocket. Oh what fun we had. Another thing I loved was that our dad read to us, not only at Christmas but also throughout the winter. I suppose this was his way of showing he loved us.
The love for each other and the story of Jesus birth were a big part of the holiday. We learned at an early age that God gave us the most precious gift that ever could be given. We also learned the joy that comes from sharing.
Love makes the difference, not monetary things or gifts but the love of family, church, friends and neighbours made this a truly wonderful time of the year.
Challenge (by Devon Wagler)
While some of the gospels begin as early as Mary’s pregnancy, John’s gospel starts even earlier. This passage is a description of what it was that actually came into Mary and was born as Jesus—God who created the world and is the source of life.
Have you ever thought about God existing before he was ‘born?’ This is some incredibly complex and confusing theology. Take some time to consider the fact that ‘the word’ was an indescribable entity even before Christ’s birth.
“The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others’ burdens, easing others’ loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of Christmas.” (W.C. Jones)