What comes to mind when you think of Christmas? Perhaps gifts, evergreen trees, lights, holly, good food, the birth of the Christ Child, the coming new year, the end of the old, and probably for many, A Christmas Carol.
The well-known tale of the bad-tempered, miserly Scrooge has been often retold through the many years since its first publication by Charles Dickens in 1843.1 To many, the story has become a symbol of Christmas; yet while most of us are familiar with the hardheartedness, stinginess, and greed of the main character, Ebenezer Scrooge, how often do we apply the story’s lessons to our own lives?
The world in which Joseph and Mary, Jesus’ earthly parents, grew up was substantially different from our world today, and they were probably still very young when they were betrothed. In ancient Israel, a couple became betrothed when the man gave the woman either a letter or a piece of money, no matter how small, directly or through a messenger. It was also required that he expressly state, before witnesses, that he intended to make the woman his wife. At the time of the betrothal, the marriage contract was written and agreed upon. Once the woman was betrothed, she was legally considered the man’s wife.
There is no greater joy nor greater reward than to make a fundamental difference in someone’s life.
—Sister Mary Rose McGeady (1928–2012)
We should make the Yuletide season an occasion not merely for the giving of material things but an occasion for the giving of that which counts infinitely more … the giving of self.
—J. C. Penney (1875–1971)
Remembrance, like a candle, burns brightest at Christmastime.—Charles Dickens (1812–1870)
I light this advent candle in ANTICIPATION…
The fact that we don’t know the exact date of Jesus’ birth doesn’t matter; what counts is that He was born. Amidst all our busy activities, let us pause to think about the Savior who lived, died, and rose again for our sake.1
What did I give the world at Christmas? My life for the forgiveness of your sins. That from Me and through Me and in Me you could have life.1
It all began when I designed the amazing and beautiful world that you live in and gave you life. Then I gave you My life, thus offering you access to eternal life. I give you hope through the knowledge that I am eternal, unchangeable, and never going away.
Most people have a few things that make Christmas special to them. Here are a few of mine.
The spirit of giving
I love the spirit of giving that permeates Christmas. It’s often a time when even the least generous become more giving. It’s a time when children can learn the joy of giving as they share what they have. It’s also a time when everyone can give something, whether they have a little or a lot, and find reward in doing so.
Can you imagine being given a Christmas gift and not opening it for 20 years? Well, that’s exactly what I did. Year after year I unwrapped all of my other gifts and enjoyed them for a few minutes or a few months before I lost interest or outgrew or wore out each one. I don’t know why I never got around to opening that one gift. When I was small, my other gifts all looked more fun, I suppose, and as I grew older, I thought I knew what was inside and wasn’t interested. Most years I didn’t even notice it.