Why do we celebrate Christmas?  Usually the simple answer is ‘because we always have,’ or ‘because we are supposed to.’  The day comes and goes.  We are more full, and we’ve had a reunion with family.  We could designate another day and make it the same: the 4th of July is an example, Thanksgiving another.  The ritual is to eat, talk, laugh, and eat again.  We celebrate the opportunity to fellowship and eat.  Did you notice the most common element? Eat!  Oh yes.  So what is Christmas really about? 

The day is set around the winter solstice, or close to it: December 21.  A day with the least amount of sunlight.  Interesting?  A Jewish messianic writer put Jesus’ birth on or around September, not winter solstice, a pagan holiday.  It doesn’t matter the day we celebrate Jesus’ birth, only that we celebrate His birth – God’s gift to us(Read Matthew and Luke Chapters 1 and 2 to your children every year.  You’ll love it.)

I never totally understood why people who never go to church will attend on Christmas and Easter. I guess to celebrate that He came and then He left? The Christmas question should be, “What have I done with the gift, Jesus, that God gave me?”  Some people just put the gift on a shelf as if it were a vase or some picture to hang on a wall and stare at while passing by.  Some never open the gift for fear that the giver might demand a thankful response. 

I like to think of God’s gift, Jesus, as a wonderful pair of shoes.  I’m old enough to remember that shoes were very important in my life.  Imagine tennis shoes or boots, whatever you prefer, that are custom made just for you. You put them on, tie them, and you are ready to run.  It seems that you can run faster and further than ever before.

I remember my wonderful Keds tennis shoes. Boy oh boy!  Black-top cloth and those soft rubber white soles.  Back when I wore them, they were always at least one size too big so that I had ‘growing room.’  No matter what else I wore, I knew that I had new Keds, and that’s what I focused on.  I wore them every day, except Sunday, and eventually I wore them out. The tops got holes in them. The soles became detached from the black-top cloth, but I didn’t mind.  I was always proud of them.

Think of Christ like a pair of Keds tennis shoes and be proud of God’s gift to us.  I wish that we did not put Him on a shelf or hang Him on a wall. I wish that we thought about Him daily so that, in our mind, He became a part of us.  I wish we believed that He made us run faster, go further, and be better so that we can overcome the rocks and thorns of life.  I wish that we had the same identity with Christ that we have with our favorite pair of shoes and believed that He made us a better person.   

I was inseparable from my Keds shoes and almost wore them to bed when I first got a new pair.  I really wish we appreciated God for His son like I appreciated my parents for buying those Keds for me.  All the things I went through, they went through it with me.  It’s an everyday experience.  He is my everyday companion.

So when you make your Christmas list, please include a pair of ‘Jesus Keds’ and think of the gift from God.  He will be a better solution to your life than just new shoes.  He is not only enough.  He is more than enough.  Have a Merry Christmas!

— Written by Pa

P.S.  I thank God for good people with morals, compassion, and family values like Joe and Juanita Castillo.  If only there were more people like them in the world.  Bless you all.

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