Lord your forgiveness is the sure and unchanging foundation of my faith. I thank you that you have made it available to me through my faith in your Son.

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Frankly Phyllis

Remember when Christmas was full of awe and surprise, family traditions and the carols you knew by heart? Remember when Christmas cards celebrated the birth of the Babe of Bethlehem with Bible verses about why He came? And what about Christmas Day? Wasn't the anticipation half the fun when you didn't know for sure what you'd get ... unless you peeked, and then you had to guiltily feign delight while everyone watched you open the gift! There were Christmas lists, but you didn't always get what you wanted. The reasons for this were various: a tight family budget and the scarcity of Four Calling Birds and Three French Hens, for example. Sure, there were boring pajamas and bars of soap you received, but your mom made you write thank-you notes anyway! Merry carolers came to your porch. If you were little, you'd hide behind the front door because it felt weird and overwhelmingly wonderful to stand right there in front of people singing their hearts out! Then you helped your mom pass the tray of cookies you helped decorate, along with hot cocoa -- marshmallows optional. This wasn't just in the movies either. You did this every year growing up. You weren't rich, but you were caught up in the awe of it all. How did your family celebrate the awe?

Whatever happened to that kind of Christmas? Did someone send a memo one silent night saying, "Christmas will be different from now on. We'll call it, 'Happy Holidays' instead. Blast out the catalogues and decorate store trees in October. Stock only a few crèches. Cards will focus on individual news, not the Good News-Bringer Himself. Enough, already, with that! Carols, oh, one or two, now and then, but emphasize winter. And another thing -- don't mention that 'holiday' comes from 'Holy Day,' which used to describe Christmas. And while I'm at it, saying or printing 'Merry Christmas!' is politically incorrect in today's world. 'Tis the season to be jolly,' you know. Bring it on -- jolly, that is, as in parties, books and food. It's time to break with tradition. It's a new age. The goal is to sustain this high as long as possible throughout the winter holiday. Let's set sales records and keep the mood spiked with a whole lotta happy. Too soon is never soon enough. Oh, and BTW, the day after ... Christmas is out on the curb."
I'm dreaming of a right Christmas! Christmas wrongs are ringing! You're reading this during the Advent Season, a time for spiritual renewal. The idea is to prepare Him (the Christ child) room, as we would prepare the rooms in our homes. Whether or not we get something from the trendiest catalogue of the year doesn't really mean a thing -- not when a gift of unsurpassed worth is freely offered to every single person. The important question is this: "Where can I get that?" Frankly, there's something to be said for getting ready to accept the gift of the Christ child, isn't there?

Skip the memo downsizing the miracle we celebrate on Christmas Day, in favor of some schmaltzy and politically correct winter celebration. Open God's love letter to you as you get to know His Child, the promise of ages past, the bright Hope of our future.

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