'Christmas Spoken Here'
by Karen Helsel
In his little book, Christmas Spoken Here, John Killinger told about staring through the window of a little Christmas shop. Though Christmas was still six months away, there were Christmas items galore: crËches from Europe, fuzzy-faced elves, Santa Clauses, reindeer, bells, trees, and music boxes. The shop was alive with Christmas and a loudspeaker blared out Christmas music.
Even in the summer, the shop was infectious. In the corner of the front door was a small sign that said, 'Christmas Spoken Here'.
The stir once again this year, a little louder than last year or the year before, is about what to call this season, so as not to offend anyone. We are being encouraged to give gifts to everyone, the newspaper carrier, the clerks, Aunt Bessie, Cousin Sid, Jim and Jill, our second-cousins twice removed.
We buy our own Christmas presents so we don't have to return the ones we don't like. But we should be careful not to speak the word. All the while, we forget that this season is NOT ABOUT US.
Two of the gospels tell the detailed story of the birth of Jesus Christ, Matthew and Luke, each accentuating different parts of the story. John's version of Jesus' life does not include the birth narratives. John does, however, tell us, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
John then says, "The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us."
The "Word" to which John refers is Jesus.
Words are so important and so powerful. Words bring insight and understanding. Words add texture to life. Words can bring healing or they can stir up violence and anger (Proverbs 15).
Words can provide an outlet for love, joy, and inspiration, or they can wound and even destroy.
Throughout the Old Testament, people knew about God. Some heard God or saw His presence in various forms. But God was still distant, far away, unknowable, and unfathomable.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, became flesh, taking the form of humankind, to show us more clearly, more powerfully and more closely, God. Jesus was the Word, become flesh. He came to love us, and to give His life to pay for our sins. Jesus came, and we have to celebrate!
You cannot keep that kind of "Word" silent. Some are advocating painting the word "Christmas" on your car or house windows. There is almost a reactionary feeling of "DON'T YOU TELL ME WHAT I CAN OR CAN'T CALL THIS SEASON!"
May I suggest instead, we live the "Christmas Spoken Here" message through our lives this year? In our giving, receiving, caring, listening, helping, or serving, may we speak the language of Christmas so loudly that everyone will hear and be drawn to the wonderful message of hope and peace!
Karen Helsel is pastor of the Sunnyside Church of God.