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November 27, 2016, 10:33 PM

Pastor's Post - December 2016


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This past month I was asked a question about whether a Christian can give gifts in the name of Santa Claus. It, and many other questions about Santa Claus, always seem to come up as we approach the celebration of our Lord’s Birth. These questions are very valid and yet, I think, many times they seem to be knee jerk reactions in defense of the true meaning of Christmas. As a child, Christmas was always a magical time of year in the Duerr household. Mom and Dad did their very best to make it that way. Early on in my life, my dad got me involved in putting up the Christmas lights on the house.

I remember clearly the trips to the Christmas Tree lot, picking out that perfect Christmas Tree, and then taking home and putting in a bucket of water in the garage – where it would stay cool and fresh. I think my dad had more fun with putting up the Christmas Tree than any other event during the year. It usually took him and mom t least a week to put it up. They always did it late at night. Each morning we got up to see if it was up. Usually we were met with an empty space, a little note that said, “not yet,” then just the tree board – minus the village and tree, then the tree board with a single house on it, the tree board with only the Christmas tree stand on it, etc. As I look back at it, I’m sure some modern day psychologists would say it was child abuse.

But, it was far from it, it was Magical! Christmas Eve was the Big day/evening for us. After going to the Christmas Eve service, which was usually the Sunday School Pageant, my dad would leave and go home before the rest of us. About fifteen minutes later, mom would drive us all home and park in front of the house. In the window was a plastic, red, wreath with a red light in the middle of it (it hangs in my garage now). If the light was not lit, we sat in the car until it was lit. If it was lit, we scrambled out of the car and rushed up to the front porch. When we entered the house, there would be presents under the tree and one “stand out” present for each one of us children.

That “stand out” present was never wrapped, but set up much like it would be displayed at a store. It was always the ultimate present, the “big one!” – the one we had been dreaming of! Presents were opened, we always followed that with fried ham sandwiches and then went to bed – waiting to see what Santa would put in our stockings over the fireplace. Christmas day was, of course, a day where we went to church to celebrate the birth of our Savior. Again, it was a Magical/Big Time of Year!

When I was all grown up (yes, I know that there are those who are still waiting for me to fully grow up), I asked my dad about the “stand out” presents which were always from Santa Claus and the stockings that were filled every Christmas morning by him. My dad responded with a simple question, “Did you ever believe in Santa Claus?” The answer was a very quick, “No, I always knew you and mom played Santa Claus.” Then he reminded me of the history of Santa Claus, the opening of presents on Christmas Eve, where we got the name “Kris Kringle” and finally how they were all related to the greatest message ever given to mankind – “For unto you is born, this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

May you all have a Magical/Big Christmas, & Bring the Magic/Bigness of the Christmas Message to Your Family,

Pastor Matt

 


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