Churchnet December 2016 - Page 10

Celebrating Christmas Hope

by Jim Hill, Executive Director

Everyone who knows me well knows that I love the celebration of Christmas. I grew up in a large family and my parents made it a very special time for our family. There were many special activities at school and at church. We drew names and purchased gifts for each other. We worked hard at surprising each other. The gifts were not usually very expensive, but they were special anyway.

Our family loved Charles Dickens's famous tale, A Christmas Carol. I have continued the tradition with my family. I am something of a Dickens fanatic. This year Bettie Jo and I spent a few days in Washington, D. C., the first week of December with my brother and my son and their families. One evening we attended the play “A Christmas Carol” at Ford’s Theatre. My six-year-old grandson was captivated by the play. The story reminds me that through the ages men and women much like Scrooge have been changed by a new awareness of the meaning of Christ's coming. When I was a boy, we had an old album that was a recording of a radio broadcast of the Dickens story. We literally wore out the album. A number of years ago, my brother found a new release of the old recording on CD and gave us each a copy. I still listen to the tale many times each year. It is incredible how it brings to my mind Christmas experiences from my childhood.

Christmas is that kind of experience

for God’s people. The celebration is a

reminder of the incredible significance

of his coming — his Advent. It is an

event that helps us to recall what God

has done for us. It is a celebration of

the Incarnation of the Eternal Word of

God. John’s prologue says, “the Word

became flesh and dwelt among us!”

We could never have found our way to

him, so he came to us. The most

important gifts we ever give are the

gifts that carry something of ourselves

in the gift. God gave us himself, in the

person of his Son. It was this gift that

changed everything. In him is light

and life. In him is Hope.

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