I’M STILL BELIEVING IN CHRISTMAS…

11 12 2017

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 Hello Family! This is my absolute favorite time of the year. I am a lifelong card carrying hopelessly devoted Fan of Christmas. And with the snow coming down upon us here in Cape May County last weekend, I believe this one is going to be even a bit more extra special. Maybe because my name is Rudolph but I have always celebrated Christmas all 12 months of the year. I keep the decorations up in my office complete with tree, lights and ornaments. And don’t be surprised if I am blasting my Ronettes version of Sleigh Ride in the middle of a hazy, hot and humid August day!

 I have always believed in St. Nicholas and his unconditional giving and I still make it a point of following his example. I am a big fan of participating in anonymous random acts of kindness for strangers, family and friends every December. I watch every Hallmark Channel Countdown to Christmas Movie even though I know what is going to happen in the first five minutes. I look forward to reading the annual Yuletide offerings from celebrated Authors such as Richard Paul Evans, Debbie Macomber and Elin Hilderbrand. I long for my annual dates to The Nutcracker with my daughter Leah and Ice Skating in New York City with my daughter Abbie. And the more Christmas Services that we hold at The Lighthouse Church, the more energized I become. As a matter of fact, this year we will be holding 5 of them! I love the midnight candlelight one the best.

 When I was a kid, I remember how hard it was for me to go to sleep on Christmas Eve. I was notorious for sneaking downstairs and being the first of my siblings to peak at all the presents underneath the Tree. I got a blue bicycle back in 1965. I was quite disappointed when I opened the box and found out that it still needed to be assembled. Needless to say I badgered my Dad all day to put it together so I could get out and ride it on the snowy streets of Cedar Knolls up in North Jersey. By the way, I have nearly lost my sanity more than once trying to put together my children’s’ gifts on Christmas Eve. I will pay any price to buy the floor model so I can leave the fixing to the experts.    

 And as I write these recollections, I can’t help but recall the nostalgic gatherings of our beloved but dysfunctional families. I had some very large Aunts and one could easily suffocate when one of them would embrace you in a bear hug and smother you with their sloppy lipstick kisses. We all would suffer from lasting marks on our face from having our cheeks pinched again and again. There was always lots of food whether it was with my Mom’s Italian relatives complete with the Feast of the Seven Fishes or my Dad’s Polish side which always included a Christmas-themed Talent Show. My Dad’s Brother Joey was a television star back in the 1950’s and appeared on a daily variety show with other such notables as Barry Gordon and Connie Francis.  

 I surely miss my Dad who now has been in Heaven since September of 2000. We had so much fun together and because of his constant fear of our house burning down; he never kept the Christmas lights on and refused to ever use our fire place. He’d always tell me to turn on Channel 11 WPIX if I needed to warm up because that station ran a continuous video loop of a burning Yule Log. I would actually hold up popcorn to the screen but for some reason, it never popped!

So much has changed down though the years and I think we as a Nation have lost our way. If the word Christmas by definition means the celebration of Jesus; then it begs the question, “How can you celebrate Jesus without celebrating Jesus? It’s like when people tell me they can’t come to church because they have Christmas shopping to do. So ironically they are missing out on coming to celebrate the Lord because they are out shopping to get ready for the day we commemorate celebrating the Lord but they do so without ever celebrating the Lord. If you ask me, it defeats the purpose. How can we truly have hope on the darkest night of the year if we ignore the light?

 I am not ready to concede to our Culture’s demand of referring to this time of the year as “The Winter Break,” when we put gifts under “The Holiday Tree.” The first word of Christmas is still Christ and as far as I am concerned it is still a season where we look to the Savior to accomplish what the old pagan Saturnalia could never pull off. I make no apology to wish Jesus a “Happy Birthday!” as publicly as I can! I wouldn’t dare to tell anyone else that they couldn’t celebrate the important days of their faith. So I am free to shout, “Merry Christmas” and buy and give Christmas presents and send Christmas cards and eat Christmas cookies and decorate my Christmas Tree while singing Christmas Carols telling the Christmas Story! If you call me politically incorrect, so be it! I have been labeled much worse in my life.

 This will be my 58th Christmas here on Earth and while I cherish those of yesterday I am still excited about the one that is now only a week and a half away. I still believe in the magic of Christmas and challenge those who share my convictions to also allow your lights to shine brighter than ever before. I pray that many more will embrace the greatest gift that God ever gave us and make room in their hearts for Jesus. We won’t ever benefit from winter if it doesn’t promise the new life of spring. So why not let Christ be born in you and let his presence shine in you? And let’s never give up ringing those silver bells until the day we finally walk the streets of gold! If there’s no place like home for the Holidays, then we must make sure we observe a celebration that promises us an eternal destination.

 With the time remaining, which by the way is zipping by, let’s forget about our selfies and concentrate on the Baby born in the manger and together make this the coolest Yule on record. Let’s leave the commercialism to the retail stores and let’s make the church a haven where we are following the example of the Savior! If our love for God can result in actions that can transform this crazy chaotic world, then now is the time. Let’s believe in Christmas again!  

 


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