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home : religion : religion January 19, 2019

12/8/2018 12:21:00 AM
What Is On Your Mind At Christmas Time?

Dr. Vince Hefner, Pastor
First Baptist Church, Cherryville, NC

When you think of Christmas, what comes to your mind? When I think of Christmas, my mind goes back to the first Christmas I can remember. I remember the gifts that I received, but that was not the most important part of Christmas. What made Christmas for me was the people who were around me, and the feeling of love and belonging.

My first memories of Christmas are in Atlapass, North Carolina, at the home of my grandparents, Mamaw and Pa Medford. My memory goes way beyond events, people, food, or gifts. My memory is triggered by the external sense of smell and the internal sense of feeling at home in a certain place. Mamaw’s home always had the sweet smell of food and fresh baked items around the Christmas season. However, the best part of Mamaw’s house was the way you were treated by your relatives. Mamaw’s house was always bustling with some type of excitement from aunts, uncles, and cousins. This is the place where I can remember my first Christmas.

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I was 5 years old, and my brother was 6 years old. My sister was just a baby and was not aware of the festive occasion that was taking place all around her. My family had just moved back to the mountains from Newport News, Va. My parents decided to have Christmas at Mamaw and Pa’s, which suited me and my brother just fine. However, we knew that we had a potential problem on our hands. We were concerned about confusing Santa Claus. I mean, we had just moved from Virginia, now living in North Carolina, and really not at our home on Christmas Eve. How would Santa figure out where we were on this most important night? The adults reassured us that Santa knew that we were at our grandparent’s house and he would not miss us on his route through the Blue Ridge Mountains. We were about to go to bed and noticed something that would cause fear in any child awaiting Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. My grandfather had placed a big board over the fireplace to keep the hot air in his big brick home and to keep the cold air out. Could Santa come through wood? It seemed that we were making things awful hard on ol’ Saint Nick. Would he just leave the gifts behind the board in the fireplace? Would he just forget about the whole thing and pass us by to go to the next house? We couldn’t take the chance on hurting Santa’s feelings. We asked Pa about the covered up fireplace and Santa Claus. He didn’t say anything, he just walked over and removed that board and placed it in the basement. Thank God for grandfathers!

I’m thankful for the Christmas season. I am thankful that God has removed the barrier for the whole world to get to Heaven. I am thankful that I do not have to earn my way in by works or good deeds, but by faith in Jesus Christ and forgiveness in his beautiful name. Strangely enough, this Christmas at Mamaw and Pa’s is the only Christmas that I can remember the gifts I received from Santa: a GI Joe doll and some accessories for his many adventures. Matthew 1:21 says, “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Remember, that without Jesus birth, there would be no sinless life lived, no perfect sacrifice offered, and no way home. If the angels can celebrate His birth, and wise men follow his star, then we should thank God for His gift to us.

Remember, don’t give in to sin. Think about it!

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