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Feature Article - December 1, 2005

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December 1, 2005

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Christmas Musings

by Reverend Marilyn Richardson

And Mary gave birth to her firstborn Son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger.

And Mary gave birth to her firstborn son – and her son became our Lord and Saviour. This is the most wonderful gift anyone has ever been given! And so we set aside a time each year to celebrate this birth and to give thanks to God.


Jesus didn’t arrive in a beautifully wrapped box with a big red ribbon on it. He arrived in a humble stable with animals and the smell of a barn to welcome him into this world. His first visitors were dirty, unkempt shepherds who came out of curiosity to see what was going on. Mary was exhausted, and Joseph was worried and frustrated because he had to put Mary in such a place to deliver their baby.

But through it all they survived and thrived and the world was changed forever. At least, the world was changed for all who believe in this magnificent, humbling story.

The Christmas season seems to come earlier and earlier each year. Decorations are abundant in all the stores before the Jack-O-Lanterns are put away. We start to panic in mid-November now instead of mid-December. We fill our calendars with social events, business obligations; we buy gifts that most of us don’t need – or want. We decorate, we bake, we wrap. We throw ourselves into the crowded malls to listen to canned music and an artificial Santa Claus saying his “Ho! Ho! Ho’s! It is exciting. It is frustrating. It is tiring.

When all is ready – the turkey bought, the dressing waiting to be stuffed, the presents all wrapped up, the family invited, we finally get to have a little rest – perhaps for at least an hour – and hopefully, we will take stock, once again, of this Christmas past.

Have we left anything unfinished? What didn’t we do that we promised ourselves we would do this year? We look at our Christmas tree with the angel or star sitting on top and perhaps then, we will remember. We forgot the most important thing about this season of the birth of our Lord. We forgot to say thank-you to the One who gave us this gift.

We forgot to take that special gift to Community Services for the Christmas baskets. We forgot to knit that extra pair of mitts for the children whose hands freeze in the winter because they don’t have anything warm! We forgot to go to church and feast on the decorations and the singing and the messages that are in abundance in our places of worship. We forgot that “Jesus is the Reason for the Season”.

God takes no pleasure in seeing us work ourselves into a frenzy to celebrate a season where the meaning is so deeply hidden in the tinsel and wrappings that we have forgotten how Christmas came to be. Only each one of us, by ourselves, can change the whole concept of Christmas. Only we can stop buying, buying, buying! Only we can put our money and time into doing good deeds for those who need our help. Only we can fill a Christmas basket for one who is not as fortunate as ourselves.

I believe Christmas is a time for family and friends. It is a time for good food, a thoughtful gift to someone I love. It is a time for sending and receiving good wishes from my family and friends far away. It is a time when I can, and do, wish everyone I meet a “Merry Christmas”; not “Holiday Greetings” or Best Wishes”. No! I refuse to take Christ out of Christmas! Most of all, I believe Christmas is the time to stop! To ponder! To remember! To give thanks! Our churches yearn to welcome all those who desire to be a part of the true meaning of Christmas.

May you have a blessed, safe, peaceful, love-filled Christmas – in Christ’s name.

- The Rev. Marilyn Richardson, Flinton-Cloyne-Harlowe United Churches

The United Churches of Flinton-Cloyne-Harlow are having a Stable Service on December 16at 3 p.m. at the farm of the Blackwell’s on Henderson Road right at the Harlowe four corners. Keep driving ‘till you come to

Sasha’s legacy farm. You are all invited to attend.

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