Archive for the ‘Christmas Eve’ Category

>A Christmas message

December 24, 2010

>This Bessemer Opinions column was first posted in 2009. It is worth repeating.

In Gardendale a business had written on their sign, “Not Xmas. Keep Christ in Christmas.”
Every year undereducated Christians rant about liberals trying to remove Christ from Christmas. Others defend the use of the word.

Even Martha Stewart got in on the act, as she attempted to educate her readers in an article titled “Traditional Xmas Breads” in the December issue of her magazine. In describing the recipe for Christopsomo, a Greek bread with strips of dough across the top that form a cross, or “X”, she writes, “The Greek letter X, or chi, is the first letter of the Greek word for Christ and was used as an early abbreviation. Hence the word Xmas.”

So, Xmas was not some term dreamed up by solstice worshiping heathens or bottom line worshiping retail moguls. It’s a valid, shortened word with the same meaning as Christmas.
Instead of arguing about words, we should all be thinking about the message of the season, “Peace on Earth. Good will to all.”

It’s really quite simple. Since Jesus was born on that cold morning, the world has had a path it could follow that would lead to peace.

But right now our country is involved in two wars and other skirmishes are occurring across the planet. Arguments can be made both for and against these conflicts.

And we are at war among ourselves as well. Racism, sexism, homophobia and class warfare keep us at odds with our family members and neighbors.

“Let there be peace on earth. And let it begin with me,” a popular Christian song begins.

We have a decorative piece sitting on a mantle, a faux stone with the words “Peace on Earth” inscribed. A metal turtle is crawling up the stone, as if to indicate that peace might be slow in coming, but will get here nevertheless.

As Christmas approaches, remember the lonely soldier in the deserts of Iraq or the cold mountains of Afghanistan. Think about the homeless person who because of unfortunate circumstances, poor judgment, or mental illness has little hope. And consider the young people in our community who may be surrounded by family but feel unloved and lost.

We can spread tidings of comfort and joy by reaching out to these people and in doing so we will bring peace on earth a little closer.

Peace on earth, and merry Xmas to all.

>Homewood blowing out the candles

December 16, 2009

>In nearby Homewood the fire chief said that if you want your church to hold a candlelight service on Christmas Eve you have to get a permit and pay four off duty firefighters $100 each to stand guard.

That’s $400 that could be going to help feed the poor on Christmas day, or buy blankets for the homeless.

The law has been on the books for over 10 years, and in the past Dawson Memorial Baptist (for which $400 is a drop in the bucket) has been paying for the permit and the firefighters.

But smaller churches like Edgewood Presbyterian are just learning of the law, and to them $400 is a lot of money.

All Saints Episcopal Church holds a candlelight service where the candles are lit for about a minute and a half while the people sing “Silent Night,” Rev. Glenda Curry said.

Trinity United Methodist pastor Andrew Wolfe said, “The church has been doing this hundreds of years. I can’t imagine that all of a sudden we’re not able to do a candlelight service.”

The law requires the churches to hire firefighters from Homewood, so there may not be enough off duty firefighters to go around, and the city says they will deny the permits in that case.

Here’s a suggestion. Hire these guys and let them work for tips.

Surely attendance would increase if these firefighters were there to monitor the situation.

Instead of paying them directly, pass the plate around and let the firefighters split the take.

Seriously, this is about the stupidest law I’ve ever heard of. The Homewood city council should hold an emergency session next week and repeal this law.

>Christmas Eve…Western Tribune Column December 24 2008

December 24, 2008


When you think about it, Christmas Eve is a much more interesting day than Christmas…assuming one is not immersed in last minute shopping. There’s anticipation, there’s reflection, there’s wonder.

Anyway, here’s my column from the Western Tribune on this Christmas Eve:

We hear a lot about the “magic of Christmas,” but by Christmas Day much of the magic is gone. For many families that celebrate Christmas the day begins in a whirlwind of ribbons and bows as kids rip open presents, and ends driving home from Grandma’s exhausted and full of ham and coconut cake.

There is nothing magic about that. It’s fun and it’s heartwarming, but not magic.

No, the magic has already happened, and like good magic, you don’t see it. In fact, magic may be the wrong word to describe it. “Wonder” is a better word to describe Christmas Eve.

For children, they know the next day will be full of surprise, and they go to bed full of wonder, listening for sleigh bells and the patter of feet on the roof, a sound that any other night of the year would result in a 911 call.

For adults there is a bit of scurrying to do after children go to bed, but then it’s time to relax and wonder.

With or without spiked eggnog, this can be done by lowering the lights and staring at the Christmas tree, reminiscing about our childhood Christmases or thinking about loved ones who for one reason or another will not be here to celebrate with us.

Others might sit outside and stare at the heavens and wonder how shepherds might have reacted long ago on a cold night when a star seemed to explode in the sky.

That same night Mary’s heart and mind were certainly full of wonder as the pains of her labor began.

She knew that her baby would be precious, as all mothers do, but she had been told with certain authority that her child would reign over a kingdom that has no end. Can you imagine?

As Joseph held his baby son, he had to wonder what his role would be, how a simple man like himself could raise a king, how he could be a father to the son of God, when the child was not even of his flesh. We would all put greater effort into raising our children if we took to heart what Joseph did.

The wonder of Christmas, that a baby could change the world. A glorious light has dawned indeed. That’s something worth wondering about.