“Rejoice in the Lord always! Again I will say, Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4 (NKJV)
By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”
I got ambushed by Christmas this year. I just didn’t see him coming. I should have remembered, especially since Christmas shows up every year, just like clockwork. But this year he was hiding behind Halloween and Thanksgiving, and for some reason I wasn’t paying attention. Then, before I knew it, December was here. He pounced out and clubbed me on the head with a fruitcake, tied me with tinsel and dragged me under the tree. I got clobbered by Christmas.
This morning, the school secretary Miss Geraldine came scurrying in with a homemade holiday food tray and said, “It just seems like I can’t get everything together this year.” That pretty much describes my situation. I usually send a lot of Christmas cards. This year… no. I usually make a PowerPoint slideshow for the Christmas cantata. This year… didn’t happen. I usually have my presents wrapped by now. This year… nope. I won’t bore you with the whole list of things left undone, but we’re only scratching the surface here. Trust me on this one.
In my defense, I’ve been pretty busy with other things – my sons and all their activities. And there’s been a lot of sickness and sadness in the church lately. I’ve attended the usual flurry of Christmas programs, parties, and parades. I just finished final exams for the high school Latin class I teach. So I haven’t been idle. I just haven’t been working on my holiday to-do list.
But there’s a silver lining to all this. I’m really having a very good Christmas. And it’s because of something my sister Cathie told me several Christmases ago. I was telling her I was feeling kind of sad after Christmas because I hadn’t been able to organize and pull-off a perfect Yuletide Season. She said, “Oh, John. You messed up. You tried to make a perfect Christmas. That never happens, so no wonder you’re sad. You should have aimed at having a good one!”
That, my dear friends, is the Gospel truth. Nothing in this life goes perfectly, and Christmas is no exception. And it’s important to remember how the celebration of Christmas got started. The holiday was originally called “Christ-mass” because the celebration was a communion service when the birth of Jesus was remembered. People went to Mass to honor Christ. So I figure that if, in the month of December, I get to remember and receive Christ in Holy Communion, then I’ve had a great “Christ Mass”. Everything else I do beyond that to celebrate His birth is just “gravy”. And instead of fretting about doing everything perfectly, I can spend my winter days thinking of the blessings God has given me at the Christmas season… and they are so very many!
Don’t strive for a perfect Christmas this year. Just aim for a good one.
From my house to your house, have a good Christmas. A really good one.
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” (Sing that title to the tune of “Secret Agent Man”) He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and is beginning his third decade of being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 17) and Seth (age 14) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where Christmas is never perfect, but is always good). You should write him at email@example.com.