Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Christmas Cards (11/06/08)
- TITLE: "Bingle Jells"
By Judith Gayle Smith
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Once upon a time it was a true challenge. Try to find some like-minded believers who would prefer Bible studies during coffee breaks. Who actually would be willing to spend a part of their lunch hour discussing why the Christ had to be born. Research to find when His birthday actually was. Schools of thought placed it more in the Fall months than Winter. Try to explain to folks about the Winter Solstice and the pagan origins of Christmas.
Christmas cards. Like Valentines, you can purchase them in every size, amount of glitz and personality pleasers. One of my favorites over thirty years ago showed a drunken reindeer with ornaments tangled in its antlers. The inside stated "Bingle Jells". I still say Bingle Jells whenever I have the opportunity. My Mom would always check the back of the cards to see if they were generically boxed, or who cared enough to send the very best - ie. most expensive. That, plus the fact that if someone didn't send a card one Christmas was immediately not only struck from her Christmas list, but also from her friendship - turned me off because of such falsity of the "Christmas spirit".
Granted, not everyone is like my Mom. But it was pretty rough, throughout my formative years - to learn that true friendship was defined by the amount of Christmas cards you could display on your walls. I wanted people to know that I loved them beyond the Holidays. But the heads would shake and the fingers point if you "scrooged" the Holidays. The prayers would start for me and anyone like me who "needed" the Christmas spirit. Avalanches of cards with Santa Claus and snowmen would cascade over the cubicle walls. Glitter, paper trees, ornaments and felt stockings with my name on them would magically appear on my desk. Emails would deluge me with holiday cheeriness.
And sometimes I would yield. I would get out my hymnal, find an exquisite song to commemorate Christ's birth - find appropriate applicable Bible verses from my ever present worn Bible kept on my desk. Of course, only during lunch periods - never on company time. I was so noble. Going through magazines for beautiful photos of Christmas pageantry to collage with the verses. Take the completed Christmas complexity home to copy my homemade cards in full color. Take the finished masterpieces back to work the next day, and surreptitiously make sure they found their way to everyone's cubicle - missing no one. Until I found my work in several wastebaskets. Bah. Humbug.
Until one day, I found myself questioning why I even tried to please everyone. I was becoming bitter. Was it my Mom? My co workers? No. It was and is me. Once yearly people do make the effort to reach out and connect. A good time for soul winning, yes. For caring beyond ourselves. People could care less about the pagan origins of the Christmas tree. Take comfort in the fact that the things of God are most often foolishness to the world.
Yes, it is imperative to beware the traditions of men. To avoid all appearance of evil. But if the opportunity arises to share the reasons why we have such hope and joy - then, by all means, do not be wary of showing our hope and joy. Not with glitter and glitz, but with a heart fully yielded to a loving and righteous Savior who died for us so that we might live holy and righteous lives to God. Ane that is why I celebrate His birth.
This is a true story - and my "Christmas card" to all of you...
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