I guess I never really understood it! Certainly, I understood the origin of the celebration; you know the birth of Jesus, Bethlehem, Mary, Joseph and all. It took years to understand gift giving as a ritual representing Gods gift to us and our caring for each other.
It has become apparent that I live a life so fortunate, so full of gifts in a world where so many have so little. I am beyond lucky. Before coming to the Church and to God I was certain that celebrating Christmas with gifts and visits with my family was the joy and magic of the day. But the truth was I could see the magic fading and disappearing in a cloud of commercialism, Christmas lights and bad Christmas movies. I was sure people clung to Christmas as a time where there was a day off and we could hide out with our families.
Fortunately, I found Riverside Baptist Church, and more importantly the people inside. The examples of generosity, care and concern has touched a heart which was mired in doubt and cynicism. As well, I was being offered opportunities to truly share an ever-increasing joy found in the true meaning of Christmas.
I have seen examples of people in the church doing for others and helping others who might not have as much at a time where want and need is keenly felt. I have joined in various projects and learned the absolute joy of anonymity while doing as much good as I can.
I know now the birth of our Saviour was the only gift I ever needed, and that celebrating this holy anniversary by sharing this joy is the best gift I can give.
There is an old-time country Christmas song I love called “Star of Bethlehem”. I particularly like the version done by Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys. The last line in this piece is “Oh beautiful Star of Bethlehem shine on”.
I cannot think of a better wish for the people I care for than the Star of Bethlehem would shine for you every day.
God bless you and many, many thanks. Ted

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