What Christmas Was Meant to Do

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A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.

There was a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.

You can recognize all these. Perhaps you barely even had to read them, they’re so familiar. They make us grin, they call forth memories, and they evoke emotions. Your heart is instantly swept away into another land, full of adventure, danger, and wonder. But very little of that is because of them. Just those sentences themselves aren’t much. There’s no elegant structure here. There’s no eloquent prose. In fact, they all consist almost entirely of single-syllable words! They’re not stories, they’re not chapters, and they’re barely even full sentences. Taken simply as words by themselves, they have little power.

No, we love them because they are beginnings. We love them because they herald what is coming next.

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (Luke 2:1)

And I think this is how we should love Christmas as well. Of course, most people do enjoy Christmas. Ask most people on the street, and — unless they are the living incarnation of Scrooge or the Grinch himself — they’ll smile and agree that it’s one of the most wonderful times of the year.

His soft little hands stretched open, reaching for the warmth of His mother. Red and wrinkled, His small body was wrapped snugly, safe from the bitter winter air. Continue reading

Sweet Smells and Silver Bells

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Silver bells has always been one of my favorite Christmas songs. Its rhythm, its imagery, its ease of hum-ability; all making it a favorite. Just its quiet joy, its quiet contentment.

I don’t know precisely what silver bells Bing Crosby was referring to. But I have my own image in mind.

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You’ve heard it. Down-town Christmas shopping, the stores all shining with their finery. There’s plenty of noises about: cars honking, the murmur and foot-steps of hundreds, the woosh of a delightfully chilly breeze; but it’s still there. Above all the bustle, above all the noise, above all the laughter and clamor for toys, it’s there.

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Just a little red bucket. Just a little silver bell. But behind each there are stories to tell. Of days spent shivering in the cold, of hours spent standing alone; yet still their faithful vigil they hold. But, every day they are there. Continue reading