A Christmas Memory
by Bill Harrington
Growing up, my sisters, little brother, and I had a $3.25 Christmas. We had 25 cents for a stocking stuffer for each member of the family. We drew names for the $2.00 gift we would buy.
When I was five years old I drew my mother’s name. I was excited! Dad was hard to buy for, and my sisters were too bossy. Our trip to buy presents was usually to the 5 & 10 cent store.
That year I found red leather gloves with rabbit fur lining for $2.00. I was so excited; mom’s favorite color was red.
On Christmas Morning I couldn’t wait for my mom to open her present. She tried on the gloves, and they were a perfect fit. Every time we went out I wanted her to wear those gloves. Did they match everything? I doubt it.
Mom died at age 53. When we were going through her stuff we found those gloves. Old and blackened – hardly any red color left. There was a lot of love in those old gloves: a young boy for his mother, and the mother’s memory and love.
I love Jesus because he is the great equalizer. Not just the races, or the poor, but those who have strayed.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, in her final days of pregnancy must have wondered about many things. She was the only woman back then who truly knew she was having a boy. She knew she was having God’s son. Going to Bethlehem must have been hard, but harder still to find out there wasn’t a decent room where she could have her baby. The Son of God! We can’t imagine having a baby in a stable. Women wouldn’t be the ones to make requests for lodging. If she could, would she say, “I’m having the son of God”? She would have been thought mad.
Joseph made the crib; I wonder what tools he had. The angels announced the birth, the star appeared in the sky. The Lord did things His way. Such joy Mary must have felt. Such love she must have had.
She knew Jesus better than anyone. We see that at the wedding party when she asked Jesus to solve the lack of wine problem. She had to see her son crucified on the cross, but the love of the son for his mother is evident when he told John to look after his mother.
I love Jesus because he is the great equalizer. Not just the races, or the poor, but those who have strayed. The thief, the adulterer, those we might have wronged, or who wronged us. We may be surprised to see who has asked for forgiveness; who is in heaven. Then we will truly know God’s love for everyone, even us.
More Jesus Journeys
All I could think about the rest of the trip was this: If Jesus is real, he must be so frustrated right now. He’s probably thinking, “I gave you the burning bush. What more proof do you need?!”
I thought I could stop when I wanted too, but that is the lie I believed without knowing I really had no willpower strong enough to overcome behaviors that were now addictions.
I didn’t want a baby at that point in my life. The father of the child said he could not afford the Child Support payments.
Church ministry is like racing: full of history and tradition, and like racing it is also changing, and not all of it is because of the pandemic. The changes affecting the church are coming from the changing society and culture around us.
These families have hope that their loved one will be relieved of pain and suffering. Hope that their loved one will have everlasting life with Jesus. Hope that they will join their loved one someday. They have hope because for them death is not the end.
From Adam and Eve we learn that God grants us the free will to choose to love him, but that he also demands our obedience. Obedience requires surrendering our will to God’s. However, our culture promotes winning, succeeding, rugged individualism, entrepreneurial spirit, and doing it “my way.” Let’s face it, nobody wants to lose, submit, give up, or cave in.