With the shock of the shooting of little children
in a little town in Connecticut
close to my home
we ask ourselves
how can we…
how do we keep Christmas?
But it is critical that we MUST
and hold to Christmas and CHRIST more than ever!
Outside a village church in Switzerland one cold winter night, a tired man waited for the evening service to begin. He had come a long way and the church was dark. He began to wonder if any service was planned-despite the ringing of the bells that had lured him there.
But then through the forest he saw pinpricks of light bobbing and moving toward him.
The congregation was assembling, each group carrying its own lighted lantern. After a few had arrived, the weary man followed them and sank down on a pew in the shadowy church. As more and more people came, each hanging his lantern on an iron hook in the wall, the shadows retreated and the church began to glow with the light.
After the service the traveler stopped to ask the pastor about this unique method of illuminating the church.
“But it is the only means we have, monsieur.” The clergyman replied. “In the fifteen hundreds when many of these churches were built, it was too costly for the church to supply candles. It was usual for each family to carry a lantern. Our church has chosen to carry on the old custom. If someone does not come, we all feel it. The church is darker by one lantern.
” He paused and looked sharply at the visitor. Then he added, “We are called the Church of the lighted lamps.”
The traveler thanked his host and went away, knowing at least what he must to do regain his joy in living. He had to light and carry his own lamp…
Christmas is good only because we make it good for no other reason. That is a part of its message.
But to keep Christmas we have to light our own lanterns in the darkness. The customs must be kept guarded, cared for if Christmas is to take on life for us. The elements are there but they must be given the breath of life–YOUR LIFE. Your breath is what does it. Light your lamp! Keep Christmas!
(Part of this message was given to me in a booklet of cherished Christmas Stories by a dear friend)