How the time flies by! We're getting closer and closer to Christmas. Let's look at the word "Christmas." The first six letters spell "Christ." That is only fitting, since it reminds us that this is Christ's birthday. And we can spell "mass" with two s's because we'll have a mass of joy, laughter, love and presents for those we love. We'll be busy planning a big party.
The Christmas tree is a big part of Christmas. All the lights on the tree and around the windows remind us that Jesus is the light of the world! Everyone loves light and is either afraid of the dark or just doesn't like it. We can choose the light.
Have you ever asked yourself, "Why did Jesus have to be born?" We'll look at the big things first and then the smaller things.
First of all, He had to be human. As a human being, He could feel pain, He could laugh, He could get angry, He could give love and be loved. He showed concern for others. Look at how He fed thousands with five fish, He encouraged people, He brought some back to life (Lazarus). He walked on water.
He had to be human so that He could die. And He had to be sinless so that He could be worthy of being a perfect sacrifice to remove our sins. He had to be a king. He had to fill all the requirements He needed to be the perfect sacrifice.
Now let's take a look at Mary. What was required of her to be eligible to be the mother of Jesus? She was a woman of virtue. She was willing to take the ridicule she would have to receive by being pregnant without a husband. But she stood up tall and met all the requirements.
And what about Joseph? Just think of the price he had to pay! Who would believe Mary got pregnant without being with a man? It looked like Mary had made a fool of him. And we all know how man is proud by nature. But he believed God when God told him in a dream that Mary was still a virgin.
Here was this beautiful family - different from any other. Mary, a mother without sexual experience; Joseph, a father without sexual contact; and a beautiful baby boy whose father was God.
It took great courage for each one to do his or her part. Yet it was all done for the love of us.
I used to think God wasn't fair to Jesus for making Him suffer and die like that, but then one day I saw the light. Both of them put us first! Our needs came first! Wow! That's what I can love! I didn't see it because I wouldn't do that. Why should I allow my son to suffer and die to save those people? Besides - they were bad people. They were sinners! I could understand more if they were at least good people. That's why I couldn't get it. But you know something? When I hear those stories of how people have changed their lives because of the love of God and Jesus I find myself most impressed by those who were really bad and completely changed. If you had been a prostitute or a promiscuous woman and you gave it all up because you were sorry and you appreciated the sacrifice Jesus had made for you, that's more dramatic than a girl who was telling lies and stopped that bad habit because she didn't like herself anymore.
I know of a woman whose husband had lied to her and cheated on her. She decided to be worse than he was. She did everything he had done and more to pay him back. Do we do stupid things like that? Do two wrongs make a right?
Fortunately, someone saw her plight and rescued her. She became a teacher, and an excellent one at that. Don't ever think you're too bad to be saved. No one isn't good enough to be worth saving. We're all sinners, but let's hope Christians sin less. We're better than we were, but not perfect.
I know another young man - he used to smoke, drink, do drugs. You name it, he did it. He turned his life completely around! He's such a beautiful Christian! I love his story. Maybe I'll ask him for permission to write his whole story. It would be such an inspiration.
I count my blessings every day. I thank God for this column. I'm not professional (except for being a hairdresser). I'm just an ordinary person, but maybe that's why people relate to me. Sometimes professional people intimidate others. A thought just came to me - do you think that's why Jesus left off being a king and became just an ordinary person? He's the wisest person I've ever met, so I bet that's what He did!
I'm appreciating the real meaning of Christmas more and more every day! This is going to be a special Christmas! Merry Christmas!
Margaret Valone is a Fredonia resident. Send comments on this column to firstname.lastname@example.org