Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas Spirit

Is there any more joy than watching/listening to your children/grandchildren singing or performing at church?

Pictured here are 7 primary aged (one pre-school) children singing Christmas Carols at their church. Last Sunday, actually.

Small church, but friendly and genuine - all families, that is.

This is the church of John and Tonya and their children/grandchildren.

In this picture are 3 year old Mary on the left; 7 year old Priscilla next to her; and 6 year old Benjamin second from right. They’re Molly and Troy’s kids. (Isabelle and Janie - Bobby and Paige’s two were in Texas with their OTHER grandparents.)

While singing, they were smiling, rotating, jumping (to Jingle Bells) and really exhibiting the Joy of Christmas.

“Away in a Manger”; “What Child is This?”; “Silent Night”; “Jingle Bells”; and others.

They were trained and led by a Christian married lady named, Miss Diane. She and her husband not only trained them, but decorated and provided the gifts for the children - as well as for the Priest and Deacon of the Church. All at their own expense. What love they have for the children, and the children for them!

Such is the ”Spirit of Christmas”, as we say.

Children being early trained about the coming, and then the life and sacrificial dying of the Saviour of the world, is paramount in their rearing in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord”, as we’re challenged.

One Churchman is quoted as saying, “Give me the children until at least the age of 3, and we will have them for life.” I don’t know how true that is, but it certainly is the proper start.

There’s been a change in the national psyche about Christmas “down through the years” (we old timers like to use that phrase). There’s still some “Christmas Spirit” abroad, but it appears to be gradually degrading to “things”, rather than to “feelings”, or “faith”.

And, here 4 days after Christmas, it’s “back to normal”. Except for generally Christian radio stations, the Carols are gone. The “spirit” is gone.

I must relate a story I heard some years ago - that is certainly more pertinent to today, than to that time.

It seems that a man and his wife were walking past the window of a Department Store one December some time ago, when they noticed that the window display included a manger scene; shepherds; angels; father/mother and baby, etc. In the shadows, there was a cross, with the supposed body of Jesus hanging there. And, a sign stating, “Peace on earth, goodwill to men”. The man was reported to have said, “Look at that! Now they’re even getting religion in Christmas. What are we coming to?”

Indeed - What ARE we coming to?

Would that we had the “Spirit of Christmas” - of giving, loving, worshipping, sacrificing, sharing Christ - all year long.

Matthew 22:37-40 “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind…….And….thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

Mark 16:15 “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.”

(This reminder is for me, and I’m sharing it with you.)

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