A little joke that I heard;
Three men died on Christmas Eve and were met by Saint Peter at the pearly gates.
“In honor of this holy season,” Saint Peter said, “you must each possess something that symbolizes Christmas to get into heaven.” The first man fumbled through his pockets and pulled out a lighter.
He flicked it on. It represents a candle, he said. “You may pass through the pearly gates”, said Saint Peter.
The second man reached into his pocket and pulled out a set of keys. He shook them and said, “They’re bells.” Saint Peter said, “You may pass through the pearly gates.”
The third man started searching desperately through his pockets and finally pulled out a pair of women’s knickers. St. Peter looked at the man with a raised eyebrow and asked, “And just how do those symbolize Christmas?”
The man replied, “They’re Carol’s.”
And singing carols is exactly how I spent Christmas eve and Christmas day. On Christmas eve, I went to a friends home and the husband and wife played host to family, friends and even neighbors. Everyone brought something along so that the hostess was not too worn out with the practicalities of providing for about 50 people.
The highlight though was that we put together a small band consisting of a pianist, 2 guitarists and a drummer and we all got together to sing Christmas Carols. I was made to be the song leader which I did with much enthusiasm. Being warm Malaysia, I was soaked in sweat by the end of the singing. I also shared a little about how Christmas was about God’s gift of love and hope to men in their darkness, the gift of Jesus Christ. Today, Christmas may come up all wrapped up in gift exchanges, Santa Claus, Christmas trees and such like but to focus on that and not on Christ is like getting excited about the gift wrappings and ribbons but forgetting about the present itself.
On Christmas Day, our church actually took over a small actor’s studio and stage and held a service attended bu about 300 people. There were two plays presented; one by the Sunday School kids of ages 10 and under and another by the youth. Both plays and the subsequent message focussed on the thought that we should not miss out on the most important thing about Christmas.
I found the play by the youth especially good. The play started in Bethlehem on that first Christmas and it focussed on how busy the innkeeper and his wife was because the hotel was full. So busy that they did not play with their children or tend to their needs. So busy that they did not notice the stream of shepherds visiting the baby in the stable. So busy that they failed to notice the choir of angels in the sky proclaiming the Saviour’s birth.
The play then shifts to modern days and we see a young couple who have no time to play with their kids. They have too much work, too much church activities and too much other activities. So busy with buying presents, with cooking, with throwing parties that they miss out on the most important aspect of Christmas…..Christ himself.
I had a great Christmas. I hope yours was also wonderful and blessed.