“Behold that star! Behold that star up yonder! Behold that star! It is the star of Bethlehem, it is the star of Bethlehem.” — from the song “Behold That Star”
I am excited about Christmas. In our crisis-filled lives, we often replace the meaning of Christmas with the feeling of Christmas. I have, and perhaps you also have said, “I just don’t feel like Christmas.”
One of the biggest snares of the enemy is to get people hooked on a feeling and cause them to neglect the true meaning of Christmas.
Like the wise men who must have seen a lot of things as they left Herod’s palace on their way to Bethlehem, I have seen many things that have drained my “Christmas feeling.” I have seen the number of homeless and hungry in our county increase while charitable giving decreased. I have seen helplessness and hopelessness run rampant, and we face financial and political instability. Those wise men had plenty of reasons not to be in the Christmas spirit. The road was long, the load was heavy, and the way was often dark and dreary. Yet when they arrived at the manger their testimony was “we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him” (Matthew 2:2).
If you have found yourself not feeling like Christmas, I suggest you look for the truth of Christmas. As I write this, I am reminded of my childhood Christmases in Louisville, Ala. I think often of the things I learned from Ms. Lucille, Ma Dealia and Big Mama.
Ms. Lucille taught me Christmas is for giving. We were poor and so was everyone on our street, but on Christmas morning, as soon as we opened our presents, we would go next door to Ms. Lucille’s house. She always had a stocking waiting for each of us. I now realize that one of the greatest joys of her life was to see our faces light up as we got those oranges, apples and peppermint sticks out of the stocking. I learned from her the value of giving to others.
Ma Dealia taught me that Christmas is for family. She had no blood relatives whom I was aware of, but she was “Ma” to everyone who knew her. As I remember those days, Ma Dealia never had to wonder where she would be eating those special family meals because some family always wanted her to come to their table. I learned from her that family transcends DNA strains, and that Christmas ought to be a time of sharing with that extended family.
My Big Mama taught me that Christmas is for worshipping. One of the first things Big Mamma would say on Christmas morning was “Thank you, Lord, for another Christmas.” I learned Christmas was not all about what you get, but rather what God had given. I am the worshipper I am today because she taught me about the greatest gift of all — Jesus.
So, my friend, if the cares of this present world have you feeling down, cheer up and say, “I have seen His star, and I am going to worship him!”
Scott is pastor of the Baconton Missionary Baptist Church and vice president of the United Ministerial Alliance.