My special memory of Christmas might seem like no big deal to many of you, because you probably celebrated the birth of Jesus every year. We didn’t do that at our house. My parents believed that, if the Bible did not say to observe a certain day, you treated the day as any other. As a result, we didn't celebrate Christ's birth. We didn't play Christmas music, unless it was on the radio. Yes, we did give and receive gifts, but only so the kids wouldn't feel left out. But I still felt left out, like something important was missing. And, at age 11, I can never remember hearing the Christmas story read from the Bible in December.
Despite all the hindrances, one year Christmas became CHRISTMAS to me. The year was 1957, a time when we still could pray at school and school Christmas programs could still communicate the message and meaning of Christmas.
My teachers chose me to narrate the Christmas play which our student body was to perform in the evening for all of our parents. When I asked for the script they wanted me to read or memorize, I was told that they hadn't printed one. This puzzled me, until our first practice.
At the first rehearsal, I stepped up to the podium and saw that the teacher directing the play had placed a large Bible on it, opened to Luke 2. She had highlighted verses for me to read. Scripture was our script, and the scenes of the play followed the Christmas story as recorded by Luke.
This was a first for me, because the church we attended believed, like my parents, that we had no reason to celebrate Christmas as Christ's birth. But December 1957, I did just that. For someone who had never read Luke 2 in the context of Christmas, this was a powerful experience, made even more so by the meaningful music and scenes acted out in the play. What had been missing, and making me feel left out, was put in place that year. And I never forgot it.
Now, 57 years later, Christmas is very different at my house. We start watching Christmas movies on Halloween. We own at least 50 Christmas videos. My favorite is The Nativity Story. Christmas music starts on Thanksgiving Day. My Christmas music collection takes up nearly 100 GB on my computer and includes at least 100 CDs. My favorite song is What a Glorious Night by the Sidewalk Prophets. Actually it’s a tie with another great song written by Andrew Peterson, Labor of Love. Watch and listen to both, if you’re not familiar with them. I read as many Christmas novellas as I have time for. Next year, I plan to write and publish one myself.
What a difference reading the story of all stories from the Bible made for me. And reading it in front of a large, spellbound audience, while the story was acted out on the stage in word and in song, was unforgettable and life-changing.
It’s a shame that the political correctness of our pluralistic society denies nearly every child in public school the privilege and joy I had in that memorable Christmas season of 1957. Let's all pray that will change, because many kids are going to be left out and feel that something important is missing.
Oh, yes—as the years passed, my mom and dad began celebrating Christmas as the day Christ was born. They learned what Linus van Pelt so simply stated about Jesus’s birth, “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”
H. L. Wegley has been a USAF Intelligence Analyst and a Weather Officer, performed weather research, and published in the scientific literature. After earning an advanced Computer-Science degree, he developed computing systems for 20+ years, then retired to write. He has a contracted 4-book, Christian-thriller-series with Pelican Book Group. The 4th book releases in November 2014. He’s currently finishing his 8th novel.
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Web site: HLWegley.com
Blog: The Weather Scribe
Purchase: Triple Threat
Winner from Last Week
I had the privileged of hosting Vannetta Chapman last week on the blog. She offered a copy of her latest novel Hidden (Jacobs Family Series) (Volume 1) up for a giveaway. Our winner is:
Congrats Sharon - contact me so we can arrange for you to get your copy :)