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A Refreshing Knapp – Christmas has bigger meaning (Dec. 23, 2015 issue)

City sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday style; in the air there’s a feeling of Christmas. Children laughing; people passing; meeting smile after smile; and on every street corner you’ll hear, Silver bells, silver bells; It’s Christmas time in the city. Ring-a-ling, hear them sing. Soon it will be Christmas day!
Friday is Christmas day. How did it get here so soon? And just what is Christmas anyway?
Is it really tinsel, decorations, and presents, as merchants would have you believe? All the hoopla on television ads touting this and that as the perfect gift, to mall and department stores rivalling to have the most authentic looking Santa for you to have your child’s picture taken with, often overshadows the true reason for this celebration.
Of course, Christmas is about the birth of Jesus Christ, and to say otherwise is incorrect and frankly absurd. However there are many who want to show their political correctness by saying the words, “Happy Holidays,” as if they were ashamed to say, “Merry Christmas.”
Telling Jews that Hanukkah doesn’t exist, or the month of Ramadan, for those of Islamic faith, is just malarkey, would certainly be politically incorrect. In fact, it would be political suicide.
Politically correct, or not, in the United States, Christmas is easily the most popular holiday of the year. The Christmas Season actually starts with the first Sunday of Advent (30 Nov. this year) – not the day after Halloween, as merchants would have you believe – and ends NOT on Christmas Day, but on the 12th day after Christmas, known as the Epiphany, celebrated on Jan. 6 as the day when the manifestation of Christ’s glory occurred with the Wise Men leaving Bethlehem and spreading the word of the Messiah’s birth.
At the church I attend (Grace United Methodist) there will be a candlelight service tonight. Many other churches in Unicoi County, and in fact around the world, will be holding a similar Christmas Eve service in remembrance of the birth of Jesus.
Aside from the real reason for Christmas, children are looking forward to tearing into presents under the tree “with unbridled avarice,” as quoted from the popular TV movie, “A Christmas Story,” which holds more than a tad of truth.
For parents, though not exactly proud of their children for greedily tearing into one present after another, can’t help from being nostalgic about this moment; perhaps not only recalling the birth of Jesus, but the birth of their own child who is presently tearing wrappings from presents with reckless abandon.
While presents are nice to give, and receive, some parents and also grandparents put themselves in a financial bind to insure presents under the tree. If you happen to be in the position not to afford presents there are many nonprofit organizations like the Kiwanis Club, Salvation Army, the Marine Corps’ “Toys for Tots,”
and locally, the “Johnia Berry Toy Drive,” along with many other organizations willing and able to help out. Just ask anyone connected to these organizations; they will help you.
Fortunately, we live in the most generous country on the face of the earth. That’s something to be proud of. For all the faults we can find with our nation, America is the most

charitable of all nations in the world; very few children in this country will go without food on the table and a present of their own this Christmas.
However, I’m not completely naïve about individuals and families through circumstances, and making poor choices, have brought themselves to the point of destitution where they are living in cars or under bridges. Sheriff Mike Hensley and Social Services could verify that occasionally occurs right here in our own neighborhood. To them, Christmas is just another day to get through.
When you take your family to church this evening; thank God for your blessings, and please remember the homeless among your prayers.
Hopefully the service will be insightful to you and your children as you meditate the true meaning of Christmas.
Merry Christmas, and may God bless you.