Good Monday Morning To You!!!!
Merry Christmas to you. I like the smell of Christmas. As I write this, our house smells like gingerbread. Miss Bessie is baking gingerbread cakes to go into fruit baskets our church, Friendship Harmony, is delivering to our shut in folk. We hope to make their Christmas a little brighter by letting them know we love them and that they are not forgotten. What is your favorite Christmas smell? Is it freshly cut evergreen? Artificial trees are nice, and are a real convenience, but the smell of a real Christmas tree brings about warm memories of Christmases past.
One past Christmas I remember quite well. We lived in Elmwood Place, a little village tucked safely inside the borders of Cincinnati. The year was somewhere around 1963. I was nine years old at that time. My bedroom door opened out into the living room; there was no door-knob. I decided to turn out the lights, hide in my bedroom, and catch Santa in the act. I told my parents of my plan, so it was agreed we’d all hide in my room and peek through where a knob should have been. We must have been in that room for two hours or better, spying on Santa. My mom would occasionally say that Santa was pretty smart and would not likely be caught. I was persistent, and mom and dad were patient. I didn’t realize until years later that the best gift I received that year was not under the tree, but was hiding out with me in that bedroom peeking out the keyhole. Thanks mom and dad --- that was a great Christmas.
Do you have time for one other Christmas from Pastor Vic? For as long as I remember, our family celebration began at 6:00pm on December 24th. I guess that’s the Hebrew in me coming out (if indeed there is any). At 6:00 we were ready to, “let the fun begin.” Every year my mom would slow us down and say, “not until we read the Christmas story.” We had, and still have, a Christmas story book that had the section from Luke’s Gospel about the account of Christ’s birth. Not one gift was touched until that story was read. I remember one year I asked if I could read the story. Mom and Dad agreed, so I read, skipping forward as I went. Somehow we had to speed things along, after all, the presents were waiting. Mom let me finish then she said something like, “That was nice, now lets read it again so we can hear the entire story.” I learned that day that you do not want to try to pull the wool over Sunday School attending Southern Baptist parents.
In the spirit of the season, and to slow hectic times down a bit, lets read the story again. I do not know your favorite translation, so allow me to use the King James Version. Call me a traditionalist if you must, but to me, the KJV’s account has a certain beauty about it surpassed by none other.
Luke Chapter 2
Augustus enrolls all the Roman Empire
1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
An angel announces it to shepherds
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
There mom, the whole thing this time, no cheating. From the entire Cooper Family, which is now splashed all over these United States, Merry Christ- filled Christmas, and may your New Year be filled with the blessings of hope, health, and happiness. I’ll see you next Monday Morning With Pastor Vic.