Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
December 13, 2015
It really is the most wonderful time of the year
I can’t help it. I just love Christmas. The very word “Christmas” makes my heart sing. Since I was a boy writing letters to Santa Claus I have loved Christmas. For me it really is the most wonderful time of the year. But what makes it so special?
It may be the thrill of anticipation -- expecting something wonderful to happen. Anticipation is the gusto of Christmas. Thanksgiving is the threshold of the joyous expectancy of Christmas. Good things happen at Christmas. As December 25 nears, most of us are like children -- eager for the day to come! Life without the thrill of anticipation would be absolute misery.
The music of Christmas makes it unique. We never sing "Silent Night" or "Joy to the World" in May; but we would not want to live through December without the warm glow that comes from singing these songs. And no December is complete without listening again to the majestic sound of Handel’s Messiah. Few things can set your heart on fire like The Hallelujah Chorus.
The secular Christmas songs are also delightful. Only Ebenezer Scrooge and his kin do not enjoy singing "Jingle Bells" or "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" or "Frosty the Snowman." A favorite of mine is “I saw Mama kissing Santa Claus underneath the mistletoe last night.” The most delightful of all may be “Winter Wonderland.” That song can make you want to go on a sleigh ride with your sweetie.
Colorful decorations make Christmas beautiful – and sometimes bizarre! We decorate our homes, stores, streets and public places. We hang lights and wreaths everywhere because bright colors help us forget for a little while the harshness of life. Beautiful red and green ribbons, and bright clothes, can cheer us up.
Then Christmas food is extraordinary! Our kitchens come alive with the sweet aroma of foods that make us merry – and overweight! Mama bakes delicious cakes and pies and she may even toast some pecans! There is also the thrill of sitting down at a large table to break bread with family members we have seen for a while.
Snow can make Christmas special. I prefer the kind that comes out of a can, or the snow we see on television while watching children laughing and playing in the snow in upper New York State. When it snows in Alabama we chuckle to see how one inch of snow will paralyze the traffic! We will love it if it snows this year so we can take pictures of the children throwing snowballs and building snowmen.
Trees loaded with tinsel, lights and angels make Christmas delightful. Christmas morning would not be the same without a tree, with gift surprises underneath it, and little children eager to find out what Santa brought them. We have had a good laugh this year because our artificial tree is broken but so far duct tape is holding it in place!
Christmas is special for Christians, of course, because it is gives us a chance to journey back to Bethlehem and celebrate once again the birth of the Savior named Jesus. Amidst all the wrapping paper, the tinsel, the music, the smell of food, and the tension of this busy season, we remember that it is more important for Jesus to come into our hearts than it is for Santa to come down the chimney.
Be careful these days of the Stress Monster. He is lurking in the shadows hoping he can make your Christmas miserable. Run him off. Slam the door in his face. Take charge of your life and refuse to let that rascal spoil what can surely be the most wonderful time of the year. + + +