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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Reason for the Season of Christmas (12/04/08)

TITLE: A Single Glance
By Joe Moreland


When I was a kid, it was always difficult to sleep on Christmas Eve. Like every other child in the world, I was restive with anticipation. My siblings and I were not allowed out of bed until it was daylight, but we were always awake before then, lying in our beds, waiting for that first ray of sunlight to break through our bedroom curtains.

In a flash we were up and racing down the stairs to wake up Mom and Dad. I never could understand how they could be so unenthusiastic about the whole thing. They would practically sleep walk out to the kitchen, making us wait the eternity it took for them to make a pot of coffee, pour a cup, mix in cream and suger and (finally!) join the rest of us in the living room for the grand present opening ceremony.

Now, as an adult with children of my own, I understand all too well how parents can end up less than enthusiastic when Christmas morning finally arrives. While the children are laying awake upstairs in eager anticipation, my wife and I are usually up until the wee hours of the morning, wrapping and placing all the remaining presents under the tree.

When the not-so-little-anymore ones come romping down the stairs to wake us up, I head to the ktichen for a cup of coffee as they wait impatiently in the living room. As the first rush of caffeine hits my body, though, I begin to perk up a little. Like a baseball player standing in the on deck circle, I take a few practice swings to limber up.

"Who's ready for PRESENTS?" I tease.

As everybody shouts and screams "ME!", I rise and head back to the kitchen for another cup of coffee. Groans of anguish follow me all the way to the coffee pot.

Finally back to my designated spot in front of the tree, I sit patiently, sipping my coffee as the kids begin to get the hint and start to quiet down some. When I have their undivided attention, I pull out my bible. This is the part that differs from when I was a kid. Maybe it's part of the reason I can drum up some energy after long weeks of Christmas sticker-shock therapy, and being up most of the previous night. This is the moment where we get to talk about what Christmas is "really" about.

I'm sure almost every Christian family spends time doing this on Christmas day. Many of them are probably a lot better at it than I. My wife and I have discussed bringing home the point by being less caught up in the wordly view of Christmas; the lights, the decorations, the presents and malls. But we just love the excitement and fun had by all during those days. We know the memories we create at this time of the year will carry us through our old age. So, instead, I use the moment before we open presents, to tell the kids a story I feel relates the point well.

It's not the typical story read by Christian families on Christmas morning. I like to tell the story of Simeon (Luke 2). The bible tells us that Simeon was a righteous and devout man who was promised by the Lord (the Holy Spirit, to be exact) that he would lay eyes upon the Christ before he died. In eager anticipation Simeon went to the Temple courts to await his promised gift.

We do not know how long it was before Simeon got his present. Was it days, months or years? How many times did he go to bed at night thinking "Tomorrow is Christmas!"? The truth is not known. Maybe it was just those few days between when Jesus was born and he was taken to the Temple for consecration.

However long it was, Simeon knew his gift when he saw it. The moment he laid eyes on the baby Jesus, he recognized Him for who He was. How sad that so many of us cannot say the same. All the old man Simeon needed was a fraction of a second, a single glance, and, with that, his joy was complete. He knew the Lord so well, he was able to recognize Him at first sight.

That, is what Christmas is all about.

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This article has been read 646 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Colin Swann12/12/08
God made us in his image - with a laugh and a smile and the ability to enjoy ourselves. I'm sure God enjoys us enjoying ourselves at Christmas if Christ is in the centre. Thanks for reminding us. A good family story! Thanks! Col.

Have a good Christmas!

Connie Dixon12/15/08
I could feel for the kids having to wait for their parents to get their coffee "fix." I appreciate the mc doing things "a little different" than they were done when he was a boy, and I liked the different story than the normal - familiar Bethlehem scene. Thanks for giving a new perspective, good job!
Gregory Kane12/16/08
This was well told. I also enjoyed the adult humour, especially the way you teased the children. And as has been said it was good to hear a Bible passage that wasn't manger related.
I do wonder if your conclusion doesn't come across as a bit disconnected from the rest of the family tale - more of a preachy epilogue. I suspect that the whole story would have been better rounded had you woven in a response from the children.
Anyhow welcome back and hope to see you next quarter.
Teresa Lee Rainey12/16/08
I really enjoyed the fact that "dad" didn't read the traditional Christmas story. I love how you related the story he told to a gift. Also enjoyed the normalcy of Christmas morning with this family. :)
Carole Robishaw 12/16/08
This is a good story to remind of of how we have no idea of God's timing, but that, if we know Him, we will recognize him in our lives. This is very appropriate right now, with all the turmoil and concerns or the current world events, we need to be still and wait, He will be there.
Karlene Jacobsen12/16/08
I loved the whole coffee thing. That was great. I watch my kids roll their eyes everytime we must have our "coffee first".
Your humor is well woven into the story.
Pamela Kliewer12/16/08
I really like this, especially the telling of the story of Simeon as he waited for the gift he knew was promised.
Verna Cole Mitchell 12/16/08
I especially liked your unique idea of using the story of Simeon at Christmas, couldn't help wondering if you really do that. Good story.
Jan Ackerson 12/16/08
The first half of this was extremely compelling. I wonder if the second half would be just as compelling if you had your children reacting to the story in dialogue--actually incorporating your lesson into the family narrative.

Very well-written; I enjoyed it a lot.