By Stanley T. Crawford
When I think of the holiday season, I recall many pleasant memories from my childhood. I remember the feast that my mother would prepare for Thanksgiving. We often had turkey, stuffing, homemade rolls, sweet potato pies, cakes, collard greens, cranberry sauce and much more. My mother had begun the preparation of these wonderful goodies a few days before Thanksgiving Day.
On Thanksgiving Day, while my mother prepared the meal the rest of the family would watch the Thanksgiving Day parade on television. During those years we were able to choose from three or four television channels; cable television wasn't around. After we had gotten tired of watching television, we played and talked as mom cooked the food. The mouth watering aromas filled the house. In some ways, those were the days--no cares and few concerns.
Following dinner, we would visit relatives. During these visits, our relatives often provided more food. Usually, when we arrived at a relative's house they had eaten their main Thanksgiving meal. Yet after everyone had laughed and had talked for a while, our host offered dessert. Leftovers from the main meal were available for individuals wanting to partake in more than just dessert. This was something that our families were sure to do on the holidays. As children, we would run and play without worrying about tomorrow.
As for Christmas, as a child the anticipation of gifts created a lot of excitement. This excitement would begin to build immediately after Thanksgiving and reach its peak on Christmas Eve. My siblings and I would talk about what we would do when we received our Christmas presents. As Christmas break from school approached, I found myself discussing Christmas with classmates. We talked about all the candies, nuts and fruit that we would receive on Christmas day.
At our house, we regularly attended Sunday School and church, the Christmas holiday meant time to prepare for the Sunday School Christmas Program. At our Sunday School we were given passages to memorize. The passages ranged from verses from the Bible, to short passages about Jesus and events surrounding his birth. The older children and adults would often put on a skit based on Christ's birth in the manger.
My siblings and I would practice our passages at home. Our parents required us to memorize our passages. We normally had one or two practices at the church before the big Christmas Program. The program was normally the Sunday before Christmas. Our parents would attend the program, and I remember them being very proud of us when they heard us speak. In addition, to passages, we would sing Christmas songs.
As I grew older, I developed the tradition of reading the birth of Jesus Christ at least once during the Christmas season. Often, I had read the scripture on Christmas day.
When I look back I realize that these early events in my life helped to lay the foundation of the true importance of Christmas. The true importance of Christmas is that Jesus Christ was born in order to prepare him to take away the sins of the world. This message sometimes gets lost by those who are Christians, and isn't apparent to those who aren't Christians. I mention the importance today, so that amidst all your joy and holiday cheer, that you might reflect on the true importance of Christmas.
As you enjoy this holiday season, may God Bless you and Your Family with many pleasant times during this holiday season.
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