I would like to share my favorite Christmas memory with you. I was very young and I woke up during the night and went out to the living room to see the Christmas tree. It was dark, but I could see a tricycle with red wood blocks on the pedals. I heard something outside and I looked out the window and I thought I saw Santa Claus take off in his sleigh.
I really enjoyed the holiday season as a kid. We did Christmas shows at school, we told the tale of the three wise men and the star of Bethlehem. Christmas decorations were up all over the city of Los Angeles. It was a very special time spent with family.
As an adult, I went through a phase where I grew less fond of the holidays, but one thing I could never understand was why it was offensive to some people to be told, “Merry Christmas.” It does not hurt anyone and it certainly never hurt me to hear it. While I do not drink alcohol, when someone offers me a drink I just say, “No thank you,” but the kind thought behind them offering one to me is not lost. Yet, some people today find the idea of Christmas offensive and would like to erase the holiday. Just how many people find it offensive? According to some statistics, in the United States, ninety-two percent of Americans celebrate Christmas. That is nine out of ten. Still, society makes an attempt to change the greetings to not offend the few, losing the meaning and some of the history of the holiday for the rest of us.
During the bitter winter of 1777 George Washington and his closest men celebrated Christmas Eve with a dinner of rice and vinegar in their winter encampment in Valley Forge.
During the American Civil War both sides celebrated Christmas with special food and celebration. President Lincoln held a Christmas party in the White House in 1861. He also visited troops and soldiers in the hospital on Christmas Day with his son. Union Soldiers pulled carts through parts of Georgia decorated like a sleigh with horse dressed to look like reindeer and handed out food.
During World War I on Christmas Day the fighting stopped in the trenches and they sang carols and exchanged cigarettes and chocolates. There was even a soccer game between the English and German soldiers.
The founding fathers were Christians, and when they wrote the First Amendment they wrote that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” They did not want a state religion forced on the people, and they did not want the country to be ruled by the church. The term I hear so many people speak about so often is “the wall of separation between church and state.” To set the record straight for all those people who like to throw it out there: it is not and never was in the US Constitution. It was written by Thomas Jefferson to a church that heard a rumor that Congress was going to make a national religion in 1802.
Christmas is a celebration of the gift of God to us: the birth of Jesus. It is a celebration of love, sacrifice, forgiveness and grace. It is the unselfish act of God sending his son into the world so that we may all have everlasting life.
The whole world benefits from Christmas, no matter who you are or what you believe in or don’t believe in, there are no negative effects of a celebration of our savior.
Merry Christmas and God Bless!
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.