Saturday, 24 December 2011

Before and After.

Well... Merry Christmas to you all.

I celebrate CHRISTMAS, not "happy holidays" or "festive greetings". I believe that Jesus Christ is the reason that we celebrate on December 25th year after year.

When I was a kid I knew that Christmas meant toys and blinking coloured lights around the neighbourhood. The artificial tree got pulled out and my Dad swore at the tangled lights. It meant spending time at my Grandmothers eating Ukrainian food with old people that I didn't know, playing polka records in a wood-panelled basement. Shortbread cookies with raspberry jam thumbprints. Being too excited to sleep, knowing that in the morning there would be a surprise under the tree. Would Santa bring what I asked for? My sister poking me and telling me to wake up because Santa brought us Cabbage patch dolls. My mom wearing a new velour bathrobe. My dad sleeping in and not seeing us open up our stockings. Opening up gift after gift... seeing what my Auntie's sent. My Grandmother would give diamond chip jewelry. My other Grandmother would wrap up underwear in a dishtowel she bought at $1.49 day at Woodwards. My parents would pretend to like whatever gift I gave. Being jealous of the cooler toys my sister got. Getting sleepy around noon from such a bad sleep the night before.

Now... everything is different.

Now... Christmas is about a second chance at life. We celebrate this day because Jesus was born.

This is from Luke chapter 2.
1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.
 4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
 8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
   and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
 16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
 21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.

I became a Christian when I was 19 years old. I really needed something bigger than myself to believe in. God has never disappointed me, and I am still in awe that He gave me the chance to get to know Him. It really was a second chance at life, because I had messed up the first one so badly. I have faith that when I die I will go to Heaven. How can I know for sure? I don't. But I have faith. It's not empty, or misplaced. I don't need a crutch. I just know that I am a sinner, I can't do this world by myself and I need God. Jesus gave up his life, fulfilled a prophesy in the bible, and died for reasons that make me stop with my eyes closed and tears running down my cheeks. Did he die for no good reason? Probably not. Who would do that... experience excruciating death for a false cause? No one that I have ever met. I don't know that humans have the strength to do it. 

This Christmas why don't you just stop and think about why/what you are celebrating December 25th? There isn't anything wrong with the first 19 Christmas's of my life. They were great. But now things have changed and I see another reason... 

Merry Christmas to you... oooxxx