Christmas by the Roadside
by George Parler
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The lights frequently illuminated both sides of my path as I drove the long trip to work in the late hours of night. There’s just something about the lights of Christmas. Nothing brings me more smiles than the memories that flood my mind when the bright colors of Christmas lights fire up the retinas in my eyes.
While the sight gives me great joy there is a lingering sadness that approaches. It is only a few days before Christmas and I know there are those who are counting the days when they can take down the lights and throw the Christmas tree to the road side. How sad it is to hurry away from the one day of all days that the majority of the human race at least tries to think of someone besides themselves. We are kinder to one another. We wear smiles more often. Yet once Christmas day has come and gone the dictates of our lives demand our mild-mannered selfishness once again. How quickly we run from that day grasping at the world’s uncertainties. The business of life returns in full vigor.
What would happen if we ran to that day instead of hurrying from it? What if we, like the wise men, follow a distant star to a place, a time, a day that consolidates our striving for love, joy, and peace on earth and good will toward men. A day we choose to celebrate what the Gift of God has given us, Jesus, the only begotten Son of God.
The world is in a frenzy to pursue its covert quest to remove Christ from the twenty-fifth of December. The waters of apathy against this were once mere trickles within our churches. Now the flood gates have open and these rivers have changed their course to run though the center aisle of our congregations.
Long cherished traditions of Christmas have found themselves confined within the four walls of the church. Our caroling, Christmas plays, and Cantatas rarely venture beyond the steps of the church. With the exception of the few who carol in the nursing homes. I remember groups of carolers singing outside homes as a child. They made their way down the streets of our towns with songs of rejoicing concerning the birth of our Savior. The visions and expressions of the Thomas Kinkaids and Norman Rockwells of our past fade with each passing December. When we’re gone, who will remember?
By the time I leave my workplace to go home we will have entered into a new year. I will drive home on the same path that brought me here. Yet, by then the Christmas trees that were thrown by the roadside will be gone. The artificial trees will have been put away in the attics to collect another year of dust. The Christmas lights will have been taken down and wadded up into a cardboard box to join the tree in the attic. (It’s just one more thing to frustrate us during the next Christmas season when we attempt to untangle the ball of wires.) I will have time to ponder and meditate these things as I travel back to my home where the Christmas lights and tree of my own will have been removed from sight for another year.
Help me Lord, as in the Dickens story, to honor Christmas in my heart all the days of the year. Never to allow the joy to fade or my thankfulness to become diluted concerning the virgin birth of my Savior, the Son of God, Emmanuel, God with us, the Bright Morning Star . . . Jesus Christ of Nazareth. ~ Amen
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Beautiful and sadly true. My tree is down, but may Christmas stay in my heart EVERY day. Thanks, George.
How relevant and so full of truth. The world has tried to remove "Christ" from Christmas and reduced Him to an "X" but it cannot deny the Reason for Christmas- "God so loved the world He gave His Only Begotten Son..." We have Chrsitmas because He came, to pay our ransom for us.
One year we weren't able to schedule my children's caroling party for the neighborhood prior to Christmas Day, but went out on the Sunday afterward. At one house, somebody complained that Christmas was over. To which we replied, "No, it has only just begun!" One day, I'm convinced, the veil will be lifted and the eyes of all those still in darkness will see the Light, too! So, be of good cheer, and continue the celebration; God is with us, Emmanuel!