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  • Writer's pictureDr. Ray E. Heiple, Jr.

A Christmas Memory

For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

- Luke 2:11

As Christians we know that every day of the year our good God is on the throne of the

universe, carefully ordering all things to work for our everlasting blessedness while we seek

to glorify and enjoy Him in all things. In good times and in bad, our God is always good to


Christmas is one of the few times of the year people still prioritize getting together with

family and friends. We share meals, exchange presents, and just enjoy one another’s

company. Such traditions are good and we need them. The very young understand this

intuitively, and the old appreciate it with a wisdom that only comes from years of living. As

I get older it’s funny how certain aspects of Christmases past become more significant. I

can remember walking in my grandmother’s house as a child and immediately being

overwhelmed by the warm aromas of freshly baked bread, turkey with all the trimmings,

and hot apple pie right out of the oven. There were so many people in the living room and

kitchen: my grandparents and immediate family, along with a gaggle of aunts and

uncles—greats & regulars—and many cousins. Though I paid them little mind, as my eyes

quickly scanned for the presents—and for that stuffed Santa Claus that I always threw in

the fireplace. My grandmother would try to hide it from me, but each year before we left

for home, that bean-bag stuffed Santa doll would be face down in the fireplace, if I could

help it. It’s funny but all of my cousins still remember me and that old Santa. Just last week,

this year in 2023, my brother was cleaning out the basement in that sacred house and told

me he found that bean-bag Santa, saying “You know, Bus, the one you used to always

throw in the fireplace when we were kids.” Yeah, I remember.

It’s funny, that house at Christmas: so full of warmth and people with piles of coats and

shoes, the cacophony of laughing and talking, the tv playing with nobody watching, and

the delicious aromas and smells of all the goodies prepared and being prepared, with of

course trace elements of cigarette smoke scattered throughout and lingering in the light

above the kitchen table. Now Christmas doesn’t come there anymore. The old-style lit-up

choir boy and girl, & the other Christmas lights, no longer adorn the front porch and

windows. The house is mostly dark, quiet, and empty. Many of the most indispensable

people have passed away. There’ll be no delicious fragrances wafting out the door this

year. No piles of coats and shoes, no TV drowned out by conversations, and not a whiff of

cigarette smoke… but that old beat-up Santa doll remains! Everything in this world

changes, moves on, not even the gold can stay. The Christmases of our childhood give way

to the Christmases of our parenting. And we could do all of the descriptions all over again,

changing only that everything is a little bit more wonderful, and loving, and blessed, and

good. And then the kids grow up and another lesser cycle begins. Yet in all of the food,

family, presents, and silly customs; whether we are rejoicing or mourning; it is the love of

Christ for sinners that is the greatest thing we should remember at Christmas. That NEVER

changes & ALWAYS & only gets better and better.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that the ones believing in

Him would have everlasting life” (John 3:16). God’s love was manifested in the birth of

Christ. That is what we remember and celebrate each Christmas. It is this divine love that

makes all other good things, blessings, and loves possible. Let us never forget that we are

able to care for one another only because of the love that God has shown us in Christ

Jesus. For it is unto us that God’s child was born, unto us that God’s Son was given. The

gift of Jesus Christ was and remains the greatest gift ever given. Because God loved us,

Jesus came to save us. And the government is still upon His shoulders. That means that

whatever happens in your life is under the power of your Savior who sees all, rules over all,

and does all things for your good. May God grant you and your family the faith to believe

this certain truth, and the grace to be comforted by this unchanging and never failing love,

this season and in the coming year.


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