Christmas Comes Once A Year

Christmas comes once a year”  

“And every man must have his share”  

 “Only poor Willy in the jail, drinking sour ginger beer”  

-Famous limerick that plays on the radio in Guyana, South America at Christmastime 

I think I’d rather be in a jail in Guyana hanging out with Poor Willy rather than being accosted by the incessant ads and other claptrap during the crass commercial Christmas season. That is, if the jail does not subject its inmates to Christmas hype. That would be cruel and unusual punishment!   

There are, however, those who practice the true spirit of Christmas, the reason for the season. Again this year, the Marrazzo family will serve the homeless on Christmas day. People who have nowhere to go for Christmas will have a place to go where they can get a good Christmas meal and fellowship with others. At a recent shared meal for the homeless and those in need, the pastor of the Morrisville United Methodist Church announced this event, letting the guests know they have somewhere to go this Christmas if they don’t.  

The Christmas meal will start at 3 p.m., Christmas day at a warehouse tailored for the meal at 125 Lincoln Ave., Penndel, PA.   

In the church bulletin at my church this past Sunday was a printout of an article by Professor Kevin T Bauder of Central Baptist Theological Seminary entitled “The Three Christmases”. 1. The commercial holiday. 2. The cultural holiday and 3. The Christian Christmas, which celebrates the incarnation of Jesus Christ. The professor gives a brief history of the commercial holiday, which “by the end of the twentieth century, it had become devoted to the acquisitive spirit. It is a day that plays upon covetousness…’ Bauder seems to think this Christmas is inherently bad. The cultural holiday, he says, is not inherently wrong, but Christians must be careful to not let it overshadow the Christian Christmas, the real reason for the season. Of course, the professor thinks the Christian Christmas is spot on!  My pastor said, as an example, we would not have a Santa Clause come to the church. 

The “shared meals” are about sharing with others. The commercial Christmas is about greed. The commercialism started late 19th century. Over time, the giving of gifts degenerated from the giving of gifts to the expectation of getting gifts and even as low as demanding gifts. Some guests at the shared meals demand they get everything they want and even hog the food. The free meals are for the homeless and needy, not the homeless and greedy!  

The Marrazzo Christmas meal is an oasis in a desert of incessant ads and jingles, clichés that wear on the nerves. It’s good to know that beyond the surface glitter there is something noble. 

Christ was born in Bethlehem to save us from sin and to show us the way – to become more like him. Jesus healed the sick and lame and helped the downtrodden, accepting them for whom they are, a creature made in the image of God. 

Christmas is not just about a baby in the manger. It’s about Jesus coming to earth, being one of us, suffering like humans, being tempted but, being perfect, he had victory over sins on our behalf. It was the gift given graciously out of mercy for our fallen state. 

Columnist Cal Thomas puts Christmas in perspective: 

Christmas is not just a one-time celebration, but a reminder of why Christ came to earth that we should hold dear all year long. It’s not just an isolated moment. To adapt lines from an old love song, Christmas is not just a moment’s pleasure, but a lifelong treasure. God is not a distant concept; he is ever present. 

God is found in all creation. He didn’t make the earth and people then go off to a distant cloud like the pagan gods of old, but he is alive. 

“The heavens declare the glory of God;
  the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
  no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
  their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
  It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
  like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
  It rises at one end of the heavens
  and makes its circuit to the other;
   nothing is deprived of its warmth. 

The law of the Lord is perfect,
  refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
  making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right,
  giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
  giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is pure,
  enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
  and all of them are righteous. 

They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the honeycomb.
By them your servant is warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
But who can discern their own errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.
Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
innocent of great transgression. 

 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
  be pleasing in your sight,
  Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” 

-Psalm 19 

To learn more about the homeless in Bucks County, PA , the meals and a closer look into who the homeless really are, read “There Are Homeless in Bucks County; A Journey With The Homeless”, by yours truly.