During this time of year, we think about colder weather, holding parties, taking Santa out to meet children, decorations, family gatherings, and alarms in the middle of our celebrations. No matter the season the alarms will be there. Someone has walked away from the food, so their meal may now be different. There may actually be a cat stuck in the tree. I have never got a call for Santa stuff in a chimney.
When we were children, we looked toward our special time. We might have had challenges sleeping through the night because we were waiting to hear the hooves of the reindeer from Santa's sleigh. When we woke up, we would race to the tree to see it completely decorated with the train going around the base of the tree, among the presents that were place under the tree from Santa and we wanted to rip the presents open.
As we got older, our roles changed. We may collect presents for children or families that are less fortunate. We may help to serve the homeless or those in hospitals. We may help our lonely neighbors, or we may even play Santa as we visit children. We even take extra care of those effected by fires and the community takes care of us on fires.
When I was first on the department, I got a chance to spend Christmas with my father. We spent most of the day fighting a house fire, where the occupant perished before the first unit rolled up. It was eight degrees out. Our gear was getting frozen. The hoses had to be kept open a little so that the hose would not be frozen solid. We had to go to the exhaust for the truck to thaw out our gloves. The surprise that we received was that the neighbors, who were watching through their windows, felt compelled to share their breakfast with us.
For a while, I would just look at presents or watch the traditional movies, like Miracle on 34th Street, or Santa Claus is Coming to Town or something like that. We would usually get hung up about the guy who brought us toys and stuff but were we thinking about what happened. Did we remember the present that the world received so long ago? Do we even read the history of how Jesus, Emanuel (God is with us), came to be with us and die for our sins? Do we remember the true reason for CHRISTmas? Has society decided to look at an overweight man who lives at the North Pole (not Alaska) with a bunch of elves (is that politically correct?)? How many people actually listen to the story?
There are people who only go to church on Easter and Christmas. I know. I have seen it so many times. The parents are more concerned about the running around that to truly listen and understand that we had Jesus come and live among us just so that He can be tortured for all our wrongdoings.
How many people actually understand how much God loves them? If you were Jesus, would you have been here to try to try to teach about love BUT know that you would be the last sacrifice that would ever have to be made for everyone's sins. No more did anyone have to sacrifice any animals or anything so that we can be forgiven. When was the last time that you have had a conversation with your Creator and confessed to Him all the things that you did that was not above board or questionable? Have you thanked God every day for everything you have, including the breath in your lungs? Have you thanked God for your children? Asked for healing for your sick relative?
I thank God for my family, both that I was born into and with which I have served.
If you have not yet, unwrap the opportunity that God has given to you, to know Him and how much He loves each one of you. He is waiting for you, the one reading this column right now.
God bless us, everyone.