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Sunday, December 06, 2009

Remembering that Night

Marcia Laycock is an award-winning author who writes from central Alberta Canada. Her devotional book, Spur of the Moment is now available. Visit her website - http://www.vinemarc.com/

One of my most cherished memories has to do with a Christmas project in grade school. I worked hard on it, along with the rest of my class, each of us making one character or animal depicting the nativity scene. Using wire frames and paper slathered in paste, we shaped wise men and shepherds, the baby Jesus and his parents and various animals. I picked a camel.

It seemed like an easy project until I got to the legs. I had trouble with the legs. They wouldn’t support the heavy wire, glue and paper body. Every time I propped it up, it fell down. So I took the legs off and made a camel lying down. I thought it was wonderful and brought it proudly to my mother. She oohed and aahed, of course, then asked, “What is it, a duck?”

I was crushed, but eventually we both fell into fits of giggles that lasted....well, let me see, it’s been about forty years. Perhaps because my mother felt guilty for crushing my budding artistic talents, she put that camel under our tree every Christmas, even when I groaned in protest. At some point during the season, she’d say, “Do you remember that day...?” and we’d giggle again.

Many years after that day, my husband and I began another tradition with our children – an evening drive around town to look at the lights and decorations. On one such wintry night, as our van turned into a snow globe moving slowly through huge fluffy snowflakes, my husband decided to find some Christmas music on the radio, to help set the mood. He flipped the dial from station to station and came to rest on CBC, Canada's national station.

A carol was just ending. Then a familiar voice filled our van as Alan Maitland, a well-known Canadian broadcaster, began a recitation of The Gift of The Magi, that wonderful story of giving from the heart. Our girls leaned forward to listen. An unusual stillness descended as the poignant story unfolded. The real meaning of Christmas engulfed us as we listened and drove through the falling snow and twinkling lights. It was a night we will all remember, perhaps even as long as forty years, because one of us always mentions it. Someone, at some point in the season, says, “Do you remember that night...?”

That’s the point of Christmas, the reason for its existence. It is a time when we should all say to one another, “Remember....” Remember the long trek to Bethlehem. Remember the star and those men from the East who followed it. Remember the humble place where the Savior was born. Remember the angels announcing the arrival of Joy and Peace on Earth. Remember why He came.

Although none of us were there, it is very much our story, our tradition, our unique moment. The story belongs to us all because His birth was God’s gift to us all, as the angels announced, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for ALL the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born TO YOU; he is Christ, the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11, capitals mine)

The true meaning of Christmas lies in the remembrance of that birth. As we get caught up in the flurry of the season, it would be well to say to one another, “Do you remember that night...?”