The Christmas season is busy with gift buying, entertaining, holiday parties, travel and celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. 

Retailers do a big part of their annual sales in November and December. Special sales events intensify the rush to shop. 

For grandparents, gift buying for children has become so technical that it is almost impossible. Gift cards become a solution if you can’t take them individually on a shopping trip. 

Greeting cards and letters dwindle annually. Emails do their part, if they are not lost in the junk email by some sprinkled with creativity. 

Phone calls are meaningful, but what we learned is not always good news. Travel experiences from friends have interesting insights, while health issues become discouraging. 

Concerts and Christmas music are an inspiration. 

I love traditional foods and special dinners with family and friends. I stand alone when it comes to the Lutefisk. 

Memories surface of my youth and Christmas gifts like an American Flyer two-rail electric train. It was a Pennsylvania 4-6-2 engine pulling three red passenger coaches and it will always have a special place in my memory. Growing up in the Township along the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad created a lifelong love of trains. 

Christmas has become more commercial than honoring the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ born of the Virgin Mary. 

He came as a baby to live on earth and die on the cross providing eternal life to all who believe. The Bible tells the story in Luke Chapter 2. 

Have you heard about the Founder’s Bible? Kathy learned of it this fall and has been quite impressed with the discoveries of how and why the founders of our country used the Bible as a source and basis for the development of their concepts and ideas into our democratic form of government for our Republic. Reading it together is a good chance to reflect and bring the true meaning of Christmas to your family. 

Reading scripture, group worship, music concerts and presentations are great ways to bring the true meaning of Christmas into your holiday traditions. 

Remember, more than 2,000 years ago Jesus was born. That night in Bethlehem was silent and calm as Jesus, the Son of God, was born. He came to earth to relate to humans their need for salvation and eternal life. Today we still have that need and are offered those gifts simply by believing. 

A quote from Edward Hays in A Pilgrims Almanac: “Take time to be aware that in the very midst of our busy preparations for the celebrations of Christ’s birth in ancient Bethlehem, Christ is reborn in the Bethlehems of our homes and daily lives. Take time, slow down, be still, be awake to the Divine Mystery that looks so common and so ordinary yet is wondrously present.” An old abbot was fond of saying, “The devil is always the most active on the highest of feast days.” 

The supreme trick of Old Scratch is to have us so busy decorating, preparing food, practicing music and cleaning in preparation for the feast of Christmas that we actually miss the coming of Christ. Hurt feelings, anger, impatience, injured egos — the list of clouds that busyness creates to blind us to the birth can be long, but it is familiar to us all. 


Gene Johnson is publisher emeritus of Press Publications.

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