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Greetings!

For years the kid in all of us, has looked forward to this time of year. It has even been ‘more’ fun as we grew older. As parents, we always wanted the best for our children. As grandparents, we always wanted the best for our grandchildren. As great-grandparents, we always want the best for our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. At the same time, we always wanted our children, grandchildren and great-grand children to understand the ‘reason for the season.’

I remember when I was growing up and right up until I graduated from high school and was away at college, that we as a family always took the time to read the Christmas story from the Bible before we opened the presents. Of course, we were able to see and play with the presents that Santa had brought. We seemed to have a few hours to do so, until Mom and Dad got up, dressed and situated for the reading of the story.

After the story, we created a large mess.

I remember Doc, that is what I called him because he was a medical doctor, would ask a question or two: “Why do expect to get presents at Christmas?” he would ask. It took awhile, but after a few years I learned the answer, and then after me, each of my three younger sisters learned and knew the answer. The answer was simple: God has given to us the greatest gift of his son and these presents represent gifts for us from God. Now I know some may debate that answer, yet as I look back I understand the reason for the answer. Christmas was about God’s gift for us and that trickled down from parents to child to grandchild, etc. Now you know one of the reasons you always hear in one of my prayers: For all that we have and for all that we are, we give you thanks.

Another question Doc would ask was: How many wise men came to visit the baby Jesus? He asked this just to make certain we were listening to what he was reading. Sometimes this second question changed and that would throw us off and we would have to think. Boy, did that hurt, because it extended the time before we could open the presents.

I know that I was seriously spoiled. Remember he was a medical doctor and earned enough to keep us spoiled. On the other side of those Christmases was the Christmas of 1976. I was married, living in Virginia City, Nevada with our 16 month old son. We had very little. The little we did have went for food and coal to heat the house which was very large (4000 square feet) and very old (1875) and very leaky. I was able to buy a toy wood train set for him and a bathrobe for her. That was Christmas that year. From the time that I did not spend anymore Christmases at home, until that very year, I did not read or even look at the Christmas story. Within two weeks, my son and his mother had left and I knew not where. The next Christmas, I began reading the Christmas story again and have done so ever since.

I guess the point of all of this is: Christmas comes in many ways to each of us and Christmas might change during our lifetime. However, the Christmas story is still the Christmas story: The birth of the Son of God who came to teach how to have a relationship with God and relationships with others. That is a great day to celebrate the greatest birthday present ever given to us, each one of us.

Barbara and I do wish you and your family a very meaningful Christmas.

Peace and Blessings,

Pastor Don

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