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Dr. John Bressler: The magic of Christmas
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    The last couple of weeks have been wonderful for someone who likes the Christmas season and especially if he or she is looking for some Christmas spirit. Julie and I started out by attending the downtown tree lighting ceremony in Brooklet. It was a bit chilly — which is just right for folks like us — and we felt like we were in a Christmas card surrounded by angels. There was great music, Scripture and plenty of laughter and applause to warm our hearts. We love attending church and singing all those carols and admiring the tree decorated with crismons and the hanging greenery.
    As most of you already know, I am a fan of the Grinch, whose shoes are just too tight, and sympathetic to old Ebenezer Scrooge because I know they’ll both come around eventually. I still can’t figure out how Old St. Nick can get down a smoke stack with that big bag of goodies for the naughty and nice and can finish up in one night.
    While we’re at it, can you remember those evenings so long, long ago when you sat by the bedroom window and hoped you just might see a sleigh and a few reindeer? Not too certain, little guy and little gal? I’ll bet you were sure that there was a plate with some cookies and a glass of milk to wash them down, just in case.
    For us older folks, I do not think that a little Christmas magic — even if it comes from a store, a movie or a tradition — will ever take away the true story of Christmas. Of course there is a lot of competition for our attention and it comes with spectacular advertising, presents that are guaranteed to make anyone happy, and if you don’t think so, there are always refunds and exchanges, so not all is lost.
    Did God think, and I am writing anthropomorphically – a sort of human side of God – did He say to Himself, “These poor, lonely and desperate people. They need a gift. They need a light in the darkness. They need a Christmas!” And God took two very normal people and started them on a long journey. God’s Christmas card had been sent through Isaiah, “Behold a virgin shall conceive and have a Son, and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace!”
    God put a star in the sky, much brighter than any light atop a tree, to guide some Magi, a multitude of angels (I’d like to think they were singing in 12-part harmony) and the first manger with Mary, Joseph, the baby Jesus and there was plenty of straw, shepherds, sheep and allow me to put in a donkey and a couple of camels, if you please.
    Do you think any commercialism can beat that? I don’t think so.
    The season and all the trappings can come and be forgotten in a few months. That’s to be expected. But real Christmas lasts forever!
    Thanks, God!

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