By Tom Cash
“Christmas can’t come soon enough!” Have you heard this from others? Or, like me, have you said it yourself? It is true: this year some retailers began displaying their Christmas wares as early as July. In the secular world, Christmas easily trumps every other holiday. Some businesses specialize in Christmas all year round.
As a child, Christmas could not arrive soon enough for me. Part of its wonder came from a special black trunk containing our family’s Christmas treasures. Celebrating Christmas in the Cash household did not begin until the trunk was unearthed from the storage room. The earliest I remember seeing it was a mere 10 days before December 25.
Waiting for Christmas
My parents, products of the Great Depression, passed their old Christmas traditions on to us. The tree, cut down by the family, never made its appearance inside until just days before Christmas. My father’s Lionel train dutifully chugged underneath it. Strings of popcorn decorated it. Old hand-blown glass ornaments hung beside others purchased at the local variety store. And on Christmas morning, we would discover each of our five stockings predictably filled with an orange, nuts in the shell, and a candy bar.
In spite of increased holiday advertising, Christmas mail-order catalogs, department store Santas, and TV specials, my siblings and I had to wait for Christmas. But we weren’t the only ones. Many years ago a young woman also waited as she anticipated the very first Christmas.
Waiting for Christ
The angel Gabriel’s announcement that Mary would conceive the Messiah was, to say the least, startling. She was a virgin. But Gabriel provided answers to her questions. He explained this child’s importance and shared his given name, Jesus, meaning “The Lord saves.”
Mary believed, and waited nine months for Christmas. Christians today do not need to wait! We can daily celebrate the advent of our Savior to this world, and more importantly, his presence in our lives. May we agree with a reformed Ebenezer Scrooge who declared, “I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year.”
Tom Cash is the senior minister at First Church of Christ in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. He and his wife, Coleeta, have two children and four grandchildren.