I deal in hope : Carolyn R Scheidies

Blog. Christmas is not…

Since dad was a minister, we moved every few years as different churches called him to pastor. My earliest memories of Christmas was in the tiny town of Clitherall, MN. I wasn”t even in school yet, though my older sister Karin was. At that time, we lived on main street in what had been the town bank. It was brick with double doors and high scrolled ceilings. There was even a working vault, which my folks made sure to keep shut and locked. Not every home had indoor bathrooms back in the late 1950s and businesses certainly didn’t offer that amenity. Our bank home had a path out back. It also had a lovely fireplace.

I could see Santa Claus sliding down the chimney. With a Swedish background, we celebrated Christmas and unwrapped gifts Christmas Eve. The next day we found more gifts on the hearth of the fireplace. Santa? I knew better. From my earliest days of understanding, I was taught the Santa Claus story was fun, but not true. Of course, my sister, while collecting our gifts by the fireplace, made real sure I understood that. It was ok. We still had gifts. Besides, I knew the truth about Christmas.

Christmas wasn’t about decorating Christmas trees with tinsel and fancy ornaments, though we started a tradition about decorating. A couple of weeks before Christmas, my folks set aside an evening with popcorn, candy and other snacks as we decorated the tree. Christmas wasn’t about either school or church programs as fun as they could be.

Christmas wasn’t about shopping, which was good since some years we had few purchased gifts. Mom could be very creative crafting special gifts for each of us. Christmas wasn’t about singing Christmas carols, though we enjoyed standing around Mom’s piano while she played the songs and we belted out carols. Christmas wasn’t even about seeing relatives. Sometimes we were too far or didn’t have the financial resources to visit family.

Christmas certainly wasn’t about the snow that started falling in September and didn’t really let up until late Spring. My sister disagreed with this one. She didn’t think it was truly Christmas without a thick, cold layer of snow that required sturdy boots, warm coat and hat and that thick knitted scarf, often a gift from an aunt or generous church member, to wrap around the neck.

Christmas dinner on the twenty-fifth was great as Mom was a wonder in the kitchen. But food wasn’t the reason for the season, though it was difficult not to enjoy the cookies and candy made for the season. Much of what Mom baked went to older members of the church or others in the community without even the resources we had.

While we enjoy the trappings of the season, Christmas is about the birth of the Savior Jesus who came to earth to bring hope and peace, As God’s Son, He came to live, die and rise again to offer us life forever as we follow Him.

Actually the beloved passage from John 3:16-17 is the key not only to Christmas, but also our lives. “ For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” The coming of God’s Son is the reason for the season. No wonder Christmas is a time of joy.

Merry CHRISTmas!
By Carolyn R Scheidies

Published by the Kearney Hub 12/16/2019

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