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12/25/17 Christmas for Children - Fr. Reggiie

Over the past few years there have been many e-mail messages that have ended up in my “inbox”. Recently I received an e-mail which dealt beautifully with the true meaning of Christmas. The theme of the message focused on children and was entitled, “Teach the Children.” Let me share it with you this morning. This is what it said:

“I just finished the household chores for the night and was preparing to go to bed when I heard a noise in the front of the house. I opened the door to the front room and to my surprise, Santa himself stepped out from behind the Christmas tree.

He placed his finger over my mouth so I wouldn’t cry out. “What are you doing?” I started to ask. The words choked up in my throat, and I saw he had tears in his eyes. His usual jolly manner was gone. Gone was the eager, boisterous soul we all know.

He then answered me with a simple statement. “TEACH THE CHILDREN.”

I was puzzled. What did he mean? He anticipated my question, and with one quick movement brought forth a miniature toy bag from behind the tree. As I stood bewildered, Santa said, “Teach the children! Teach them the old meaning of Christmas - the meaning that now-a-days Christmas has forgotten.”

Santa then reached in his bag and pulled out a FIR TREE and placed it before the mantle. “Teach the children that the pure green color of the stately fir tree remains green all year round, depicting the everlasting hope of mankind, all needles point heavenward, making it a symbol of man’s thoughts turning toward heaven.”

He again reached into his bag and pulled out a brilliant STAR. “Teach the children that the star was the heavenly sign of promises long ago. God promised a Savior for the world, and the star was the sign of fulfillment of His promise.

He then reached into his bag and pulled out a CANDLE. “Teach the children that the candle symbolizes Christ who is the light of the world. When we see this great light, we are reminded of Him who displaces the darkness.”

Once again he reached into his bag and removed a WREATH and placed it on the tree. “Teach the children that the wreath symbolizes the real nature of love. Real love never ceases. Love is one continuous round of affection.”

He then pulled out of his bag an ornament of himself. “Teach the children that I, Santa Claus, symbolize the generosity and good-will we feel during the month of December.”

He then brought out a HOLLY LEAF. “Teach the children that the holly plant represents immortality. It represents the crown of thorns worn by our Savior. The red represents the blood shed by Him.”

Next he pulled from his bag a GIFT and said, “Teach the children that God so loved the world that He gave His begotten Son. Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift. Teach the children that the wise men bowed before the Holy Babe and presented Him with gold, frankincense and myrrh. Gold was to honor His Kingship, frankincense to honor His divinity and myrrh to honor His humanity which was destined for death. We should always give gifts in the same spirit of the wise men.”

Santa reached into his bag and pulled out a CANDY CANE and hung it on a tree. “Teach the children that the candy cane represents the shepherds’ crook. The crook on the staff helps to bring back stray sheep to the flock. The candy cane is the symbol that we are our brother’s keeper.”

He reached in again and pulled out an ANGEL. “Teach the children that it was the angels that heralded in the glorious news of the Savior’s birth. The angels sang, “Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace and good will toward men.”

Suddenly I heard a soft twinkling sound, and from his bag he pulled out a BELL. “Teach the children that as the lost sheep are found by the sound of the bell, it should bring mankind to the fold. The bell symbolizes guidance and return.”

Santa looked back and was pleased. He looked back at me and I saw that the twinkle was back in his eyes. He said, “Remember, teach the children the true meaning of Christmas and do not put me in the center, for I am but a humble servant of the One that is, and I bow down to worship HIM, our LORD, our GOD.”

What a wonderful and appropriate way of thinking about Christmas and making it a holy day. Wouldn’t it be nice if children as well as adults celebrated Christmas through the eyes of this Santa Claus.

Children are very perceptive. The messages they hear and see are processed and absorbed quickly into their minds. If we provide them with the right building blocks, these blocks will translate themselves into a future of happiness. Once on this new path, they will continue on this new path in the future. When you teach your children, you teach future generations. The domino effect is remarkable. But, when the link is broken, the domino effect is also broken. So, this Christmas warn your children about becoming too materialistic. Don’t neglect their spiritual well-being and give them the gift of knowing what they are really celebrating – Jesus’ birthday. Be imitators of God in His dealing with the wise men as we noted in our Gospel reading this morning.

In a dream, God gave the wise men a warning about Herod and suggested that they take another way home. “But they were given a warning in a dream not to go back to Herod and returned to their own country by a different way.” (Matt. 2:12 TNJB). Anyone who first meets Christ and is sincere about Him will never travel the old path again. Once a good rapport is established with God, the new but narrow path is more favorable and much more rewarding.

Today God is once again offering us the gift of His own Son. Let us then pass that gift on to our children as well. Tell your children the true meaning of Christmas. Give them a gift that will last for generations, even unto eternity. It’s the greatest gift you can give them and the least expensive.

It has been the custom by some families to leave an empty chair at the table when enjoying their Christmas dinner. The empty chair left at the table is intended for Jesus. In this way Jesus is included in His birthday celebration.

May you all have a blessed and holy Christmas this year!

Amen!

 

 

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