When I look back on all the Christmases I have celebrated in my life, one thing stands out! We as both a country and as individuals need more Christmas!
My parents celebrated Christmas with extreme reverence and beauty. A large decorated Christmas tree graced our den. It was beautifully decorated and surrounded by magical packages. Our house was majestically festooned with garlands and tinsel. Intriguing aromas drifted tantalizingly from the kitchen. An aura of awe and reverence was everywhere as we anticipated the birth of our beloved Savior!
As I recall my glorious Christmases, one memory is most vivid. It is the memory of a simple wooden Nativity scene depicting where Our Precious Savior lay in a Manger. The stable was depicted as a simple humble structure that the Baby Jesus chose to reside in over His Throne in Heaven. Imagine the King of the Universe chose a humble stable over the Throne of Heaven! And He did it for us–you and me– so that He could die for our sins and give us the gift of eternal life with Him!
As a child I would look with wonder and awe at that small Nativity Scene. I would look with awe and wonder at the figure of the Virgin Mary with her calm and peaceful face, the statue of Joseph looking adoringly at the Baby in the Manger and at the Blessed Child swaddled and laying in a manger! How utterly beautiful and humbling to know that the Lord God Almighty, the Creator of the Universe, had sent His Only Begotten Son to earth to die for each of us so we could live with Him forever in Heaven!
When the Christmas tree came down and the tinsel was removed, the humble little Nativity scene stayed in its same spot. Mother insisted that our Nativity scene remain where it was all year long. It did not move. It was our daily and hourly reminder that the Baby Jesus needed to be born in our hearts every day of the year!
Thus it is with confidence and joy that I wish each of you Merry Christmas–today and always!