Thursday, December 24, 2009

"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" which means."God with us." Matt.1:23 NIV

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him IMMANUEL. Isa.7:14 NIV

Christmas was a special time of the year in my younger life. Decorating the tree was always a fun time. The tree used then was a skinny tree, you could see right through it. They had few branches and the limbs had a small amount of needles on them. Most of the time they would be dry and the needles would fall on the floor. The first thing we would do is get a bucket full of sand and use it for a tree stand. The trunk of the trees were small so it was easy to stick in the sand.

Next was decorating the tree. We would pop some popcorn and get a darning needle and some heavy thread so we could string the pop corn and cranberries and place it on the tree. It was generally long enough to circle the tree five or six times. Then we would make a paper chain out of 8" X 1" strips of colored paper, or sometimes we used leftover wall paper with flowers on it, and placed it on the tree. Mom had some glass balls and it seemed like one would get dropped and it would break. We always had icicles and most of the time we would put too many on. We didn't have lights when I was young. We had no electricity. When we finally got electricity mom got some lights that looked like a small candle. They had a small ball which had a bulb in it and a small candle filled with liquid on top of the ball. When they were turned on the liquid would get hot and bubbles would rise in them.

The week before Christmas was the longest week of the year because presents started showing up under the tree and we tried to guess whose they were and what was in them. Presents are good because they reminds us of what the Father gave us.

Midnight Mass was a BIG thing. Mom would make us go to bed early. She would say "you will be tired for midnight mass and I want you to stay awake". So we would go to bed but wouldn't go to sleep until about a hour before time to get ready and go. We had three churches that were 10 miles from us, so we would have to choose which one we would go to. So when it was time to go mom would start trying to get us up and we were sleepy and the bed felt so good. Our room had no heat, sometimes snow would sift in through the north window, and the floor was cold but we finally got up. On the way to church we would fall to sleep again so mom would use a strong word to get us in church. We would fight off sleep during mass but finally when the smell of incense came we would know it was about over. There was something special about midnight mass. It was the same people that met there on Sunday but I think it was because it was night time, we were all together as a family, the dark shut out the world and we were centered on the Lord's birthday. IMMANUEL, God with us. He was truly with us.

When we got home we would ask mom if we could open one present. Most of the time she would let us open a small one then she would say get to bed so Santa can bring some presents.

The Father gave us the ultimate present, His son. "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. John.3:16 NIV He gave us an example that we should love, and give the love, that He gave us. But in John,1:11 "He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him". The word receive means to take, you have to take a gift to have received it. I'm afraid that nowadays we are always looking for another present, thinking it will fulfill our needs, but it never will. This Christmas season, if you have not taken the gift from the Father, I would ask you to consider doing just that. THE GIFT IS JESUS.

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