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The message of Christmas

It's that time of year when adults become kids again. There's something about lights, decorations and the idea of gift-wrapped surprises that brings a warm glow to cold hearts and stirs excitement in tired minds.

The concept became evident to me this past weekend during the Festival Off Main activities. I witnessed adults who were as big as the fat, jolly old elf himself trying to fit on his lap to pose for a photo. (I felt sorry for the guy - it had to have been rough on his arthritic knees.) I listened as children sitting on his lap came clean and confessed their faults in hopes they would not be placed on the "naughty list." And different personality types shined brightly in the list of wishes for Christmas presents. Some children only had one wish, and others had so many with "and's" between them that I'm sure Santa's mind started wandering. But he never stopped smiling. After all, it's that time of year.

I enjoyed Saturday's parade in Thomson, along with every event in the surrounding area over the weekend, because of the different interpretations of what portrays Christmas, varying from carolers dressed in old-fashioned attire to young people sporting reindeer antlers and carrying snowflakes to a bobble head of James Brown on the hood of a sporty convertible.

But it was New Hope Baptist Church's float that spoke the truth and even answered the "who's good" and "who's bad" question. Church members dressed in costume portrayed the first Christmas with Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus. They sat at the foot of a life-sized cross. There, another church member portrayed Jesus hanging on the cross, bleeding where the nails held him there.

While the idea of a person being "good" and "bad" is based on a different standard by everyone (it's why lawyers can charge such astronomical fees), the Bible flat out tells us that all have sinned and there is none righteous, no not one. It's the reason Jesus came at Christmas - so He could pay the price of our sins so we can stand clean before a pure, perfect God whose own holiness prevents Him from looking at anything bad. It's good news for us because it provides the opportunity to be moved from God's "naughty" list to His "good" list. And that means so much more than a guarantee of toys.

Granted, some of us take a little more cleansing than others. I had to keep reminding myself of that last weekend while decorating our Christmas tree. My youngest son, Kevin, now 15, thought it would be more exciting to sit on the couch and throw all the ornaments at the tree and "see how many stick there and hang by themselves." Sigh. It's that time of year.

Web posted on Thursday, December 11, 2008

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