Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Memory

Christmas has always been a special time for me. Lights, music, food, family, giving, receiving, food… Did I say food? Yup – it’s made me the man I am today.

This’ll be my fourth Christmas in Boise. May not be a white one this year, but it’s sure to be colder than what I grew up with in So Cal. I’m remembering a Christmas we had in L.A. when I was a kid. We were in the Big House (that’s the Craftsman-style house we lived in, not a prison), and our 30-foot-long living room had two (2!) big Christmas trees on opposite sides of the fire place. I remember thinking how cool that was because there was way more room for presents, not that any present I got in that house could ever top the one I got in our previous house – the American Flyer model train. We often had cousins (well, their parents, too) staying with us because it was warm in L.A., and they were from Denver and Kalamazoo and other places that had that white stuff we only found in the mountains.

We were warm, happy, well-fed, and overwhelmed with toys (and books and socks). I’ve come to learn that not everyone is so fortunate or blessed. Some will spend this Christmas unsure of their next meal – what or where it will be, or whether it will be at all. Parents and kids alike. Our church, like so many others, has made a special effort this year to provide gifts of toys, warm clothing, and food. It’s amazing to see how good people in terrible economic times will give, many beyond their means, to help those whose situation may be only slightly worse than their own. God bless you all!

I'm including a poem I was led to write my first Christmas in Boise.

'Twas the World After Christmas

‘Twas the world after Christmas,
And all through the earth
Miraculous changes
Were caused by this birth.

Soiled hearts find a cleaning,
And a God who’s forgiving.
The people find meaning,
And a purpose for living.

The sick find a healing,
The lost find salvation,
A life more appealing,
A whole new creation.

The prisoners are freed,
The abused are restored.
Sad victims of greed
Find joy in the Lord.

In the name of this child
People have gone
To lands dark and wild
With news of the Son.

There’ve been hospitals built
To make sick bodies whole,
And churches as well
For healing the soul.

The downtrodden and hungry
Are cared for and fed.
The cold and uneasy
Sleep in a warm bed.

And one day the whole earth
Will start over anew.
There’ll be a grand rebirth,
We’ll shout, “Hallelu!”

This baby who came
To die for our sins
Is Jesus in whose name
The new life begins.

So, rise up and rejoice
For God’s Son is with men.
Give song to your voice,
Let your feet dance again.

Hear the angels that call
Through the grief and the strife,
“Merry Christmas to all,
And to all a blessed life!”

© Neal Visser 2006