When Is Christmas?

Last week in an online community the host threw a virtual Christmas party. We filled the hour with fun and laughter, but also some remembrances of Christmas past.

Getting back to that virtual party.

Each of us shared one-sentence memories which our host, Ann Kroeker, compiled into poetry.
Please listen to it here.

Ann’s voice alone makes it worth listening to.

After our virtual party, I let my memory wander through the stories of my childhood in Christmases past.

Christmastime! How the season of Christmas present brings memories back to me! My dad was a minister of a small church in the upper peninsula of Michigan.

In the U.P. we never dreamed of a white Christmas, we dreamed of actually seeing green grass by Memorial Day. But a white Christmas was guaranteed every year.

I remember …

…teenagers from the youth group layered in wool, wearing clunky boots, all wrapped up in knitted scarves, packed into cars, riding miles between houses to stand outside in the cold and sing Christmas carols.

…those same kids grabbing sleds, toboggans, and hoods of old cars to go sledding on hills with ungroomed runs.

I remember Christmas program practice with angels wearing bed sheets disguised as flowing gowns tied with garland and wings made of coat hangers. Shepherds wore bathrobes with binder twine belts and kitchen towel turbans wrapped the heads of wisemen.

I remember playing ping pong in the living room and shuffleboard in our hallway because we didn’t have a basement or family room.

There were no snowmobiles but we had a lake frozen solid, perfect for skating once the snow was cleared. Most of the time we didn’t skate long because after clearing snow from the frozen lake, we were frozen ourselves.

Back to a warm house for hot chocolate and singing Christmas carols around the piano. Oh Come All Ye Faithful and Silent Night and Joy to the World.

I remember the season leading to ‘the day’! I remember going to bed, wondering what I would get for Christmas. Anticipation…on Christmas morning I would open two gifts, one from my grandma and one from my mom and dad. I was so excited, I couldn’t sleep.

By 5:00 am Christmas morning I was ready. I couldn’t wait for my sisters and brothers to get up. And where were my parents? Didn’t they know

Christmas was here?

A few weeks ago I made a lock screen for my phone to remind me that we have memories of Christmas past, live in Christmas present, and anticipate Christmas future, but through every season Jesus is the reason for the season.

Jesus came as a baby, but he was the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the crucified saviour, the Word, The Light, the source of salvation.

I decorate before Thanksgiving and especially love the lights and music. I love parties and gatherings. There’s something about the snow and carols that surround me with the spirit of Christmas. But what really turns my mind to the real reason for the season of this song? Few people know it, but it says all the right things.

Christmas Isn’t Christmas

Till it happens in your heart

Somewhere, deep inside you,

is where Christmas really starts

So, give your heart to Jesus,

You’ll discover when you do

That, it’s Christmas,

really Christmas for you.

I pray that you find Christmas in your heart because it’s the way to peace on earth and eternal life.

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