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This Christmas, we will be able to celebrate both Christmas eve and Christmas day with all of our children: Luis, Christy, Seth, Jessica & Kristen (and Eric too).  I donít think that has ever happened for us both days let alone even one of them.  It has given us pause to examine what Christmas is all about, itsí origin and what it means to us.


A proud and humble laborer attempting to provide for his new family struggles with accommodations, and has to put up with a less than adequate dwelling.  They are in a farming town and the harvest has just been brought in during an era where transients are plenteous, so any room they can get is appreciated.  He does realize, though, that they cannot stay there long, because the seasons have started to change and the crisp night air charges through their drafty room.  His young wife, who is near term on her first pregnancy, goes into labor in a strange town with no one to assist her in her time of need.  The two of them struggle together and birth their first child, a boy.  And so begins the life of Jesus.  Normal in every way but His conception.


That day chronicled the beginning of change for all mankind.  From that moment forward, no one who met him or heard of him would be the same, ever again.  When we celebrate Christmas, we should go back to a time where we honor the life and sacrifice of Jesus, by being kind to one another, using the season to remember loved ones who live far away, and to demonstrate our love for one another.  If that includes a small token, fine.  But it shouldnít be about the gift.  The gift is a symbol of Godís gift to us.  Letís try not to discredit that.


This Christmas, take time to write personal notes in all of your Christmas cards.  Send some to friends and loved ones you may have forgotten in years gone by.  Volunteer some of your time for a church or school play.  If you really want to give yourself a gift, volunteer at a homeless shelter, read to the blind, bring meals to the homebound.  Whatever you do, shake up that gift of love that dwells deep within you. 


One last note.  Iíve never been able to watch Itís a Wonderful Life without crying.  I guess itís because of the generosity of his friends and their selfless acts that touches me in a tender place.  Lately, though, Iíve noticed that this happens to me when Iím watching other shows where someone is suffering, or in pain; especially kids.  Could it be that like Dr. Seussí Grinch, my heart has been enlarged?   


I pray that God does the same for all of you.