Comment from Ken: Have you picked out your Christmas tree yet.? And decorated it? We are yet to decorate ours but will very soon.
6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. 8He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.
10He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not
know Him. 11He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
14And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
Thank you for coming over to visit me this Sunday night. After the snowstorm yesterday, I thought you might prefer to visit with me rather than walk outside where there is ice and snow. That is why I suggested we meet at five-thirty, and I see you are right on time.
Have you had a good week? I imagine it was a busy week. Every week in the month of December is busy if you celebrate Christmas. And as you know, Dale and I love Christmas so we have been very busy decorating our home.
On Wednesday of this last week, we had movers come to move furniture into my new study and Dale’s sewing room. One of the men, when he came into our home, made the comment that he had never seen so many Christmas decorations. I told him that was my wife’s doing although I must admit, I love the way our home has looked and looks this Christmas. The young man told me he loved it too.
At long last, my desk is in my new room. In its temporary space, the light for my roll top desk was shadowy and dark. It was necessary to place a small lamp on the surface of the desk so that I could read or write successfully. In the new study, the electrician asked me where I wanted the light to be over my desk. I told him this story. Years ago when I was in college, I delivered new calendars for my brother-in-law who was the president of a bonding company. Most of the calendars were distributed to law offices in Pemberton Square, in Boston, or known by some back then, as Scolly Square. There were two famous burlesque shows located in that square, the Old Howard and the Casino. And no, I never went to either one, but I must admit that in passing by an open bar room door, I looked in for a moment and saw a woman dancing on the bar.
Now come on – no teasing me. First of all, I was too busy to linger there at the doorway, and secondly, I had no intentions back then, none whatsoever, of becoming a pastor. Away from this digression – When delivering calendars, there was one old building known as Barristers Hall. The lawyers in many of those old offices sat at roll top desks. Over those desks was a light with a green shade that hung by a single cord from the ceiling right over the surface of their desk. Many of the lawyers also wore a visor to keep the light from interfering with their eyes. So when my electrician asked about where the light should be, I explained how it was in those Pemberton Square law offices years ago. The light was hung just over my desk about six feet one inch from the floor. Once upon a time that was my height; now it is around five ten. Life changes us, physically and mentally doesn’t it?
Molly loves the space under my desk, and as I write this walk tonight, she is sleeping beneath my feet. This is her den, and if I come and sit at the desk before she sees me, she just pushes her way in regardless of how I am sitting. She does not even politely ask me to move over.
This pastor has high hopes for his study. There are so many things I still want to accomplish in my life – stories to write and people to communicate with by text and email. And of course, one of my favorite activities now is to write my walk with you.
This afternoon, I began to put away my collection of Christmas plates, which have been stored away for a year. They were once placed on a plate rail in my study in Attleboro, but when we moved to New Hampshire, I became determined to make a series of drawers to hold them. This way if you come to visit, I will be able to pull out the plate of the year you were born or what happened in significant years in your life.
I have found that many of the plates pertain to an activity or a happening in a year that has been significant to me. For instance, this year’s plate has a dog looking out a window with a child and a mother waiting for father to come home. That is so appropriate for this is the year we obtained Molly.
As I was putting away the plates this evening, one of them was from the year 1930. Every year a plate is designed around an activity or an historic site in Denmark. In 1930, the plate depicted a beautiful Christmas tree in the city. It is one of my favorite plates, and it brought to mind how each year at Christmas the Christmas tree is so important.
Dale and I obtained our Christmas tree this year by driving to Bethlehem, New Hampshire to what is called The Rock Estate. It is a large Christmas tree farm, and the proceeds of from the sale of the trees supports the forests of New Hampshire. There is, of course, a gift shop at the estate.
This last week I took a foolish tumble when I was watching Molly, and so I was very sore from the fall. I sat in the gift shop while Dale went out to find our tree. Life changes us, and sometimes we have to give in to our physical nature even though we may hate to do so. There was no way I had the stamina to take that walk, cut down a tree, and bring it out from its grove. Inside, it was so difficult to have Dale go off alone. Year after year, we have chosen our Christmas tree together. For so many years, we selected a tree from Butterfly Farm in Lincoln, Rhode Island. As opening day for choosing a tree was a Sunday, we were fortunate to have the privilege of picking our tree on a Saturday because I had to be at church services when the farm opened for tagging trees. Most of the years, we were tree number one. We would drive up into the fields and mark our tree with a tag and with an old necktie. Dale would walk around the tree and would count the number of steps so that we would know the diameter of the tree. We had some huge Christmas trees when we lived in our old Victorian home.
In spite of my inability to choose the tree with Dale, we had a wonderful day as we always do when we are off together. This year, our tree, although a little smaller, will be beautiful. It will be decorated with all the ornaments of our family history. Memories, wonderful memories, come alive when you sit in front of your Christmas tree, don’t they?
This is not the first year that we have had a smaller Christmas tree – we began that last year when we had a tree from the National Forest. Kadie and Tom picked the tree for us, and once more Dale went alone to drag the tree out of the forest with them while I waited in a nice warm room. In many ways, last year’s tree was one of our most favorite Christmas trees. Do you have a special tree in a special year that you remember?
Our faith is so beautiful and so amazing. Sometimes when I look at the life of our Savior with its terrible ending on a cross, I am filled with astonishment that a baby born in a stable could be so loved, honored, and worshipped by so many. The miracle of the cross did not end in bitterness, but like birth and Christmas, there was a new birth – a resurrection to eternal life. What a mystery – what a glorious gift from God. Put up your Christmas tree and laugh and love. Put up your Christmas tree and be filled with memories of those you love and have loved. Put up your Christmas tree and think of how the ornaments speak of divinity and humanity of Jesus of you and me as well. Put up your tree with Christian faith and belief – Rejoice our Savior is Born! And we are destined to one day see Him face to face.
Prayer: O loving God, life changes as we grow older but the joy of Christmas and its celebration should never grow old. Help us to so believe in our Lord that every Christmas we are granted, may be one of joy, gratitude, and love for our Creator and Master; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
“And now may the Lord watch between me and thee while we are absent one from the other. Amen.”