LOUISE: The Miracle of Christmas

Growing up on a farm in the
fifties was absolutely magical at Christmas. Though we had no telephone, TV, or
indoor plumbing, we had a small shallow pond to skate on when the temperature
dipped below freezing and acres of snow to tromp through.

But best of all, we had a
community gathering at our school gymnasium with children dressed in bathrobes,
sheets and tinsel to play the parts of Mary, Joseph, shepherds, kings, and
angels. While the young ones acted out the biblical Christmas story, the high
school chorus sang the message—Silent
Night, Away In A Manger, We Three Kings
and more.

Jay in a Christmas ProductionA huge Christmas tree, so tall
we had to use ladders to decorate it, dominated the area close to the stage.
When the holy pageant was over, someone ran to the microphone and announced
they heard sleigh bells. The gymnasium, packed with people, became absolutely
silent as Santa Claus, with his red suit, big belly and white beard, made his
grand entrance with a hearty “Ho, ho, ho.” Applause erupted and children jumped
up and down as Santa began calling names from the mountainous pile of presents
under the tree. Packages that parents had brought so their kids would get a
gift from Santa.

At the end of the evening, each
person went home with a brown paper bag filled with hard candy, chocolates,
nuts and fruit. I would lie awake that night reliving the magical moments of
the evening. As a young girl, I loved the fact that I always got a new dress to
wear to the program, my favorite being a red one with a full skirt and jingle
bells sewn into the rick rack trim. Starched, crisp, can-can slips gave the
skirt its flare and I loved the little jingle-jangle when I walked.

As a high school student, the
words of the Christmas carols reverberated in my mind, reminding me of a Savior
who came to earth. I pondered that story over and over. During summer nights, I
often placed my pillow on the windowsill of the open window beside my bed and
admired the starry heavens with a bright moon shining in on me. After the
Christmas pageant, I would glance through that ice-glazed window, picturing the
angels splitting the black, night skies with glorious splendor and announcing
their message of the Christ Child’s birth to shepherds in the field. What a
wonder!

Today, I can attend a number of
elaborate Christmas productions at different churches and venues, but I miss
those long ago pageants with children gracing the stage in holy attire,
stumbling over a few speaking lines. I miss the closeness of community supporting
each other. It didn’t matter if you were rich or poor, young or old, you were
part of the family in our rural school and church celebrations. I even miss
those brown bags of goodies that my siblings and I would dive into at home,
trading out the things we didn’t like.

In our present, fast-paced
world, how many of us slow down enough to ponder that first Christmas when
Jesus Christ came to earth as a baby? The Prince of Peace, King of Kings and
Lord of Lords, born in a stable to a young, virgin maiden. Angels sang. A star
lit the eastern sky. The greatest miracle ever, yet most failed to see it.

Some of us still miss the
miracle of Christmas. We look at the gifts instead of the Giver. The mundane
instead of the miraculous. The hassles instead of the holy. This year, why not
choose to be different? Look for the real Christmas. You just might find it in
a child’s Christmas play when a petite, tinsel-clad angel announces to the
audience, “For unto you is born this day . . . a Savior which is Christ the Lord.”

Wishing you a Blessed Christmas! 

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