Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas 2016

Luke 2:6
So it was while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth here firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

I love Christmas...
Always have...
Always will...

It is the only season that comes to the Bynum household with our own specific traditions.
Traditions that have now been handed down to another generation.
Oh, on the scale of human endeavors, our traditions have no significance to anyone else.But at this time of year, those who gather at our house know full well what to expect in our celebration of Christmas.

Putting up our Christmas tree is a night of memories.
Each ornament has a story...
And we share those stories out loud as we hang them.
There are paper cut-out donkey's that Chad and Josh made when they were little boys. Crayon scrawl on the back of each ornament show the attempts to spell their name. 

Hallmark ornaments to mark the passing of years.
1974 Baby's first Christmas, Chad was born.
1977 Baby's first Christmas, Josh was born.
1982 ornament looks like it went through the great fire. It's kind of melted on one side from hanging to close to a Christmas light.

There are ornaments that were given to Vicki from patients at her office. Each hand made, each evoking a memory of how special these people were to her. We have truly been blessed to have had so many wonderful people pass through our lives. I just pray that we can do the same for those we meet. That we may be able, not just at Christmas but all year, to be an encouragement and a blessing. 

What Christmas would be complete without Tennessee Ernie Ford.
My mom and dad's favorite singer.
His album, Star Carol, was a mainstay at the Bynum house growing up. I can't tell how many Christmases I woke up to the booming sound of "Joy To The World!" I will forever equate Tennessee Ernie Ford with Christmas.

It isn't really Christmas until I eat my first tangerine. Thanks to my wonderful daughter-in-law, Robin....for the last couple of years,she has provided me with that wonderful fruit. Tangerines were something that we got in our stockings, along with nuts and peppermint sticks. Just peeling the skin off of tangerine and smelling that citrus aroma brings back many wonderful thoughts and memories. Christmas morning would not be complete without a slice of Banana Bread. My other daughter-in-law, Heather, has brought me a loaf every year, to enjoy with my first cup of coffee. 

Christmas eve will find me in my chair, as night closes in, watching "It's A Wonderful Life". The thing I love about this movie is the thought that each of us have the ability to affect and edify those around us. Sometimes we do so without even thinking. George Bailey, the richest man in Bedford Falls. He puts his own hopes and dreams upon a shelf to help others. He forgoes his own life to take up running a Building and Loan Association. His house is old, drafty and the roof leaks. He feels as though he has done nothing with his life. 

It takes a divine encounter with an angel to reveal the truth about George's live. How each person touches another and either makes them better, or steals a little piece of their soul through selfish manipulation. In George's case, he gave of himself without really thinking, to build up and encourage those in need. 

At the end of the movie, George realizes what he has accomplished through his years of being unselfish. He realizes that riches and wealth are not measured by some bank book or account ledger. They are found in the friendships we make, and in the lives of those we have reached out to help. Nothing really changed in George's life. His house was still old and creaky. The roof still leaked, and he still was president of the Building and Loan. But God had given him a glimpse into the bank book of heaven. There under the name George Bailey was riches beyond George's imagination.

Christmas eve will find me stepping outside before we go to bed.
Walking out to the edge of our driveway, I will stand and listen. What am I listening for? Nothing. By that I mean that Christmas eve is the quietest night of the year. It is as if God himself stood and said, "This night is a holy still and know that salvation has come to earth." I'm not sure why I started this little slice of tradition, I just know that I've done taken this little Christmas eve stroll ever since the boy's were little. OH, the stroll has shrunk over the years, till it is a simple walk to the end of the driveway. Out into the middle of Greene Street to survey the night. It truly is the quietest night of the year. 

Christmas is a time to give of ourselves.
God gave...
He gave a Son, come to earth to fill up a baby's body.
Grow to be a man..

A man who filled up a cross with his own body to pay for the sin of this world....
A payment that would fling open the doors of heaven to provide relationship with the Father to all who accepted this wonderful gift.

How could you not love it.

As I've gotten older, the traditions of our family have become a high point in my life. They kind of remind me of the simple fact that life does move on. That time passes, and in spite of this ever moving fact, there are some things that will never change......our family traditions. Such are a kind of spiritual glue that hold us together as we gather to celebrate the birth of Christ.

Merry Christmas from the "B's" in Attalla.

God on you..

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