As per our annual tradition, I have given Sylvia Control of the Keyboard for our Christmas Blog. Hold onto your hats!
Sylvia’s Christmas Story 2019
I want to tell you a little story about one Christmas when I was a little girl. Little children love Christmas! Their excitement builds as the Christmas tree comes into the living room, and everyone takes part in putting on the decorations. Mom is busy in the kitchen baking all kinds of cookies and breads that smell like cinnamon and spice and everything nice.
Now there was a rule in our house. NO peeking! My brother and sister and I were warned, do not go into Mom and Dad’s room and peek at the presents. Now you can imagine where this might lead. The temptation was unbearable. I must admit though, we never did peek enough to actually see what you were going to get.
One year, about a week before Christmas day, my brother, sister and I saw all the presents wrapped, and piled on top of one another in our Mom and Dad’s room. Mom and Dad were not home at the time. We just couldn’t resist taking a little peek. After all, they were all wrapped. We wouldn’t know what each item was. So that should be okay, right?
We carefully started looking at each one, making sure we put them back on the pile exactly how they were originally. The labels were stuck on each gift so we could see who was going to get each one. As we looked at them, we started counting. One, two, three, four, five for my brother. One, two, three, four, five for my sister. One for me.
Now as a little girl I was shocked! Why were my brother and sister getting so many more presents than I was? I began to think that Mom and Dad loved my brother and sister more than me. I just couldn’t get this situation out of my mind. I tossed and turned at night, and I tried to be really good and helpful to Mom and Dad, so maybe they would go out and shop for more presents for me. As the week wore on, I was beginning to NOT look forward to Christmas morning.
Well, Christmas morning did come. Mom was making a special Christmas breakfast, and we were all jumping around in great anticipation for when we could open our presents, that is, except me. I tried to put on a happy face, but I was conflicted inside.
Then the time came. Now in our family Dad was the one who handed out the gifts. Dad started pulling the presents out from under the tree and called out the name of who was receiving that gift. Around, and around he went, but my name was not called.
Finally, Dad got to the last present, and announced my name. I got up from the chair and took the gift. Slowly I started opening it. It was a box about 12 inches long, 9 inches high, and 8 inches deep. What in the world could this be? When I opened the box, there was a travel train case inside. I looked at Mom and Dad with a quizzical expression. Mom said, “This is your first piece of luggage, because you said you wanted to travel. “You will need a train case for all your personal items”. I now remembered telling my Mom that I wanted to travel, but as a little girl I knew I would not be able to use this gift for some time. Mom said, “Open it”. So, I opened the trail case, and inside it was chocked full of gifts! I couldn’t believe my eyes! This one present turned into many presents. I started to cry. Mom and Dad were wondering why I was crying. I told them that I was very happy, that this was the best Christmas ever. But deep down inside myself, I was ashamed that I did not trust that Mom and Dad loved me just as much as my brother and sister. I never told Mom and Dad that, because I didn’t want to give away the secret that my brother, sister and I had peeked at the presents when we were not supposed to.
Many years have passed since that event, it is possible after all this time that I do not have all my facts totally straight, but the moral of the story is still intact.
Now when I look back on that memory, I can’t help but relate that experience with how I see Jesus.
Over 2000 years ago a baby was born in the city of Bethlehem. At the time many people did not see the significance of that starry night when the Angels were singing and proclaiming the birth of Jesus, the Messiah, the Prince of Peace.
Thirty years later Jesus started speaking parables, and teaching the people who would listen, about God, and how we should live our lives. Many people said, “who is he? Isn’t he the son of a carpenter?”
Then 3 short years later, Jesus was crucified. After all the teaching, and parables, and Jesus healing the sick, and delivering the afflicted, many people turned on him, and shouted “Crucify Him, he’s not our Messiah, he’s not the King of the Jews”.
As Jesus was hanging on the cross, people were shouting at him, “If you are the King of the Jews, come down from the cross, and show us”.
Jesus; did die on the cross, but what was not expected was, on the third day he arose from the dead. Even then, the disciples and Jesus’s friends doubted who he was, and the truth of what had just happened.
It wasn’t until Jesus ascended into heaven, and the Holy Spirit came down and touched the hearts of the disciples, that the people began to see that Jesus really was the Messiah. And from that day forward the disciples went out into the world and preached the gospel, that Jesus is alive, and the Savior of the World.
That same gospel is still preached today. Many people believe, and this story is what we celebrate every Christmas season – the birth of hope, the word of life and truth, the death that showed love so immeasurable, and the resurrection that breathes life and power into every heart that will receive and accept it.
I look at Jesus, like that travel train case I got as a little girl. When I accepted Jesus as my Savior it was like opening the train case and finding all kinds of gifts. As I have travelled with Jesus through-out my life Jesus has given me the gift of salvation and forgiveness, the gift of grace and mercy, the gift of love and acceptance, the gift of peace, and a joy that never leaves, even in my darkest moments. It’s a gift of hope; hope that the next moment will be better than the last. It’s a gift of power within, that gives me courage when I’m afraid, and strength when I feel too weak to meet a challenge. These gifts I have received from Jesus living within my heart and are called blessings from God.
As you travel through this life, may you find your train case full of gifts and blessings.
Merry Christmas everyone! May the Joy and Love of the Season be with you and your loved ones this Christmas and always,
Sylvia….and Rod too….