Christmas past helps preserve Christmas present
December 14 2001 by Jim Royston , BSC Executive Director-treasurer

Christmas past helps preserve Christmas present | Friday, Dec. 14, 2001

Friday, Dec. 14, 2001

Christmas past helps preserve Christmas present

By Jim Royston BSC Executive Director-treasurer One of my most vivid memories growing up in east Tennessee was the Christmas Eve worship services we attended at Temple Baptist Church in Johnson City. Every Dec. 24th we would crowd into our 1956 Ford Country Squire Station Wagon - two parents and seven children - and go to the "big" church in the "big" city. The rest of the year we were faithful members of Skyline Heights Baptist Church. But since our church didn't have a special Christmas Eve service, that one night of the year we "belonged" to Temple. Establishing family traditions at Christmas is very important. I can still remember the sights, sounds and even smells of those Christmas services. There was nothing in the service all that out-of-the-ordinary - a typical nativity scene, children's choirs, lots of candlelight and Christmas carols - but it all seemed magical to me. Big services impress small children. This was one of those special times when all nine of us were doing the same thing in the same place and at same time.

I've tried throughout the years to establish similar Christmas traditions for my family. Even though both of our children are married with children of their own, we still try to get together in church on Christmas Eve, although that it not always possible. These Christmas Eve services mark some of our richest family memories. Christmas means family and what better place for family to be together than at church on Christmas Eve.

The true meaning of Christmas, I believe, can be readily taught in these special services, especially to children. The Jews have long known the value of festivals and special events to foster religious education. The annual celebration of the Passover (deliverance from Egypt) and Hanukkah (rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem) has helped hold together for several millennia a Jewish people living in literally every corner of the earth. These special events somehow give "flesh and bone" to what could easily become abstract and distant historical memories.

Repeating traditional events at Christmas can be a very important aspect of our religious heritage. In a fast-pace, everything-instant world, we need time to reflect and pull together who we've been, who we are and who we hope to become. Christmas is an excellent time for reflection and renewal.

I hope each one of you can be with your families this Christmas. But even if this is not possible, you can be with your Christian family at church this season. We can all be together, although in many different locations, and celebrate this greatest gift from God in all of history - the sending of His Son so that we may live more victorious lives now as well as live with Him in the hereafter.

From all of us at the Baptist State Convention,

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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12/14/2001 12:00:00 AM by Jim Royston , BSC Executive Director-treasurer | with 0 comments
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