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Ethics & Religion
Column #2,106
Dec. 23, 2021
I Love Christmas Week!
By Mike McManus

I love Christmas week!

For me it began last week when we attended a Celtic Christmas music program featuring piano, cello and flutes. Then a day later, the fourth Sunday of Advent, we enjoyed singing traditional Christmas carols at church combined with Scripture proclaiming the birth of Christ. We sang, "Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth."

For decades my wife and I treasured attending "Messiah" at the National Cathedral, featuring professional soloists, and a full orchestra and choir. That event truly launched our Christmas season. While we listened to Handel's Oratorio, heralding in the true meaning of Christmas - we watched the setting sun through stained glass windows melt into a kaleidoscope of colors, a season spectacular.

Joyful memories also include a visit from Santa when my boys were little. He always added merriment to Christmas morning: dunned in his red suit, striding around their grandparents' house; only the resident dogs knew Santa was me. The magic lasted until one unfortunate day, I forgot to don my white gloves, and my youngest identified me by my gold crest family ring.

On Christmas Eve we'll attend a candlelight service and then celebrate Christmas Day with a nearby son and family.

During the services we attend, we will hear from Luke Chapter 2 about an angel appearing to shepherds in the fields, saying "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy...Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you. You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.

"And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace good will toward men."

We hear these ancient words of Scripture and rejoice that they are as relevant to us today as they were to the shepherds in the fields so long ago.

We will sing glorious Christmas carols:

"Praise God, from whom all blessings flow! Praise God, all creatures here below!

"Praise God above, ye heavenly host: Creator, Christ and Holy Ghost!

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!"

One dark shadow over this Christmas season is the risk of infection from what seems to be a new virus strain. While we have been vaccinated and had booster shots, we are living in perilous and uncertain times.

However, Christmas is a joyful reminder that our Lord loves us and gave his life for us. We think of words of Scripture:

"Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call his name Immanuel," which is translated, "God with us."

May this Christmas season be filled with awe for the birth of a Savior, "Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking on the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness, and being found in appearance as a man, humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross." (Philippians 2:6-8).

No wonder God "exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him a name above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God." (Philippians 4: 9-11.)

2021 was a cataclysmic year - unlike any other: widespread sickness, massive numbers of deaths, job loss, isolation and school closings.

Despite our lives being turned upside down this past year, and the likelihood that normal will never be normal again, in the midst of our nation's political turmoil, a pandemic that is unceasing, racial strife, historic tornados and floods, there is hope this season with the birth of Christ - Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, Savior of the World.

Glory to God in the highest! Glory to God in the highest! Glory to God in the highest!



_________________________

Copyright (c)2021 Michael J. McManus, a syndicated columnist and past president of Marriage Savers. To read past columns, go to www.ethicsandreligion.com. Hit Search for any topic.

 

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