hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


December 19, 2013

Putting Christ back into Christmas


This Christmas, instead of shopping like a demon, become a bit more spiritual by lending a hand to the less fortunate of our community. Money and gifts aside, a better approach might be as a volunteer in some mission house.

Money never did buy happiness and credit cards aren’t doing much better. You know and I know that Christmas has become less a birthday and more a clearance sale. Seek alternate routes for sanity’s sake.

Bake a batch of cookies, but not for yourself. Take them instead to a homeless shelter where they will be better appreciated. Visit a loved one in a nursing home. If you don’t have anyone there, visit someone else, even a total stranger.

The appreciation that might arise is better than anything found inside a colorful package.

This Christmas, make a telephone call to a long lost relative. Arrange a coffee date, a reunion perhaps. Patch an old wound, put aside any personality tiffs, and start a new relationship.

Bring your children to church and teach them how to pray. Have them stand with you at the communion aisle and receive the body of Christ in their warm hearts. Join together in singing a hymn or a carol. Give them a hug.

One of my most memorable Christmases as a child was attending two services with my parents, one inside an Armenian Catholic Church and another in my dad’s American Episcopalian Church.

I considered that a special time in my life. Never a debate about church or religion in my home, never an argument. Much of it has rubbed off on me, being baptized an Armenian Catholic, wed to an Armenian Protestant wife, and both of us now members of an Armenian Apostolic Church.

God touches all bases in our lives and has surely guided us in the right direction. For that, I am thankful.

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