Join the 90 percent in the joyous celebration

Published 7:17pm Saturday, December 8, 2012

By Larry Stover

Pastor of Praise Park Ministries Church of the Nazarene

I love Christmas. It’s my favorite time of the year. It is a time for sharing. It’s a time for giving. It’s a time for family. It’s a time to celebrate.

But, I’m worried. America is becoming more and more cynical about Christmas. This idea of separation of church and state is getting out of control. When our founding fathers included the phrase “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” in the Constitution, they never imagined a bunch of grumpy and bitter old people trying to destroy freedom of religion in America. They just didn’t want to have a religion like the State controlled “Church of England.” I guess I’m just too much of an evangelical to want to be a part of that kind of faith organization either.

I have lived all over the eastern half of this country. I’ve called both metropolitan areas and small town America home. Everywhere is different. I like that too. Celebrations vary from place to place. I like the diversity.

The last poll I read said 90 percent of Americans celebrate Christmas. To the other 10 percent, you have celebrations you enjoy. I’m for it as long as they are legal and moral. Just let me celebrate Christmas with the other 90 percent.

We helped some 180 children and teachers make reindeer sugar cookies at Valley Grande Elementary this week. It was a blast. The kids thought that was the best “art class” ever.

They frosted and decorated them and a few even took them home for mom and dad. You can even watch a live feeding of reindeer at reindeer.com.

I love to go out Christmas Caroling. Praise Park Nazarene is going caroling Sunday beginning at 4 p.m. Come join us if you like. We will sing traditional carols and always conclude with “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

Christmas music is exciting. My heart goes to racing every time I hear the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah. “Silent Night” reminds me of the peace offered to all because of Christmas. “Joy to the World” explodes with an aura of excitement. The list goes on.

We can’t forget the Nativity. That awesome symbol of Christmas takes us back over 2,000 years to that little town of Bethlehem. Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world was born. His coming has changed the world forever. Thousands and thousands of people every day, around the world, are discovering the power and joy of a relationship with Jesus Christ.

I love being a Christian and I love celebrating my faith this time of year. To all of you who join with me in this celebration, “You Can Wish Me a Merry Christmas!”

“Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!” Yes, Dallas County, there is a Jesus. It’s time to celebrate. Jesus is the Reason for the Season.

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