The Rev. Douglas Taylor: Christmas is a time of joy and compassion

Christmas is for everyone. Christmas represents peace on Earth and goodwill toward your fellowman. Is the world that we live in not in need of more peace, understanding and charity? If so, then we must lovingly correct those who seek to redefine or change the name or meaning of Christmas.

Through the years, it seems as though some have tried to tarnish the tinsel with a debate over Christmas. Should we call a tree that is decorated in the public square a Christmas tree or holiday tree?

Should school children celebrate Christmas parties in class or holiday parties?

Could a person be in danger of being sued over a nativity erected in a public park? Should store clerks greet customers with happy holidays or merry Christmas?

As I write this column at my desk, I am glancing at a calendar that is marked Dec. 25 as Christmas. I fully recognize that different people may celebrate, observe or even ignore the occasion; nonetheless, it is Christmas.

To Christians, Christmas is a holy day that represents the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christians flock to church services worldwide to sing, pray and give glory to God. The celebration goes beyond the stained-glass windows of a church and makes its way through the streets of communities.

There is such an excitement about Christmas. It seems that, every year, Christmas decorations and festive music make their debut earlier and earlier. Christmas music is even played these days in stores before Thanksgiving.

I was at a grocery store recently and there were multiple displays of bags of sugar, sacks of flour, stacks of eggs and all kinds of yummy things on sale to mix in with it all. It is that time of year and it is like no other time of year.

The aroma of homemade cookies, cakes, pies and candy fill people's homes as folks make extra to share with family, neighbors, friends and co-workers. What other time of the year inspires people to make things with their hands and express love for one another by sharing?

A heartfelt kiss and a warm hug under mistletoe also have a way of bringing people closer together.

Christmas softens the heart and pulls on the strings of compassion for those who are struggling, hurting, forgotten and lonely.

Every year, I choose to re-educate myself in humanity by watching those Christmas classics such as “It’s A Wonderful Life” and “A Christmas Carol.”

What other time of the year do people go to shopping malls and pick names of total strangers and buy gifts for them? We seem to pay attention to details and look for ways to be a blessing to people.

The cold, dark nights of winter are eliminated by the decorative Christmas lights, making the season bright.

To me, invading the darkness with light is what Christmas is all about. I have seen the faces of those who are in nursing homes, jails, homeless missions, and hospitals when the doors open and spontaneous singing erupts, accompanied by small gifts and lots of hugs.

The experience is as powerful as resurrecting the dead, and isn’t that what we are really doing when we bring joy and hope to those who are depressed?

As the director of the Urban Youth Outreach, The Jesus Party, I am involved with some families who struggle all year long, never mind the burden of buying presents at Christmas.

Last year, I received a phone call from the Optimist Club. Members sponsored a Christmas party for some of the families who participate in our gatherings. They rented out a hall, contacted area businesses, gathered fun foods, brand new clothes and toys for those families. Those types of things do not tend to happen in March, July, September, or any other month, but as Christmas rolls around ... watch it, because you are going to get blessed, whether you like it or not.

I have never heard of a person turning down a Christmas bonus at work because they were violated by the expression of Christmas. Even the staunchest atheist or agnostic enjoys a good sale item at a department store in December, even if the sale is called a Christmas sale.

Like I said, “Christmas is for everyone,” so Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

The Rev. Douglas Taylor of Lewiston is leader of The Jesus Party.

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THOMAS FALLON 's picture

A good Christmas...

after reading Rex Rhodes' sophistry in an editorial on the "culture clash" re holidays and Christmas previously, I am surprised by what I think is a turnabout in the Sun-Journal direction - and I am pleased since some of the articles noting Christmas seem to be self-generated. I thank the S-J for publishing Rev. Taylor's op-ed piece. And, I sincerely, as a normal, not superior, Christian, thank the Sun-Journal, for their general direction this Christmas.

I think it is obvious that there is much against Christ today, and Christianity, and some of it comes from within the Christian community itself. The Golden Calf, and now the scientific secularism, is difficult to turn away with its glittering lights and pills.

Thank you, and, Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, to whomever you are. Peace for all.

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