Monday, December 25, 2006

A Colvin Run Christmas Wish

All of us here at the Colvin Run Habitat would like to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas. A white Christmas is a rare event in the mid-Atlantic area where the Habitat is located; and, we certainly do not have snow here this year. Nevertheless, this snowy scene with the red cardinal graces the front of our Christmas card this year. Our inside greeting to you is: May you know the peace and joy of Christmas throughout the coming year.

We would also like to share the following stories about two Christmas trees. The Real Christmas Tree is the traditional Christmas story – the reason for the season and the source of all Christmas love. The Real Christmas Tree is an original piece of art created a few years ago based on the words found in ninth chapter of Isaiah. Alfie: The Christmas Tree is taken from a recording by John Denver and the Muppets. Our children grew up listening to this Christmas music, so in our house, the Muppets are as traditional as Bing Crosby. John Denver was a personal friend of our son-in-law. The photo shown for Alfie is a spruce that was planted in 1978, the year that our first son was born. When we moved from Maryland to Virginia, this spruce, then less than 2 feet tall, moved with us. It is now well over 25 feet tall. Front and center in the Habitat, this grand spruce has provided shelter for birds nesting and bunnies resting, respite from summer sun and winter winds for squirrels and foxes, and even gave up its needles as food for deer.

Enjoy the two Christmas tree stories. Merry Christmas!

The Real Christmas Tree

The true meaning of Christmas is found in Luke 2: 1-20:.

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!’

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.’ So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

This is the traditional Christmas story that most of us remember from our childhood. A mainstay of my childhood was the annual watching of A Charlie Brown Christmas. Poor Charlie Brown, taxed by the over commercialization of Christmas, yells, "Does any body know the real meaning of Christmas?" Linus responds by reciting the above scripture from the second chapter of Luke. Finally, the words from Luke overtake the other Peanut characters, even Snoppy who has won first prize in a doghouse Christmas light display contest. The show ends with all of the children, huddled around a simple Christmas tree, singing Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.

Remember that God’s present – the real meaning of Christmas – to all of us is the angel’s message, “to you is born this day a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.”

Alfie: The Christmas Tree

Did you ever hear the story of the Christmas Tree who just didn't want to change the show.
He liked living in the woods and playing with squirrels, he liked icicles and snow.

He liked wolves and eagles and grizzly bears and critters and creatures that crawled.
Why bugs were some of his very best friends, spiders and ants and all.

Now that's not to say that he ever looked down on the vision of twinkling lights, or on mirrored bubbles and peppermint canes and a thousand other delights.
And he often had dreams of tiny reindeer and a jolly old man and a sleigh full of toys and presents and wonderful things, and the story of Christmas Day.

Oh, Alfie believed in Christmas all right, he was full of Christmas cheer.
All of each and every day and all throughout the year.

To him it was more than a special time much more than a special day,
It was more than a beautiful story. it was a special kind of way.

You see, some folks have never heard a jingle bell ring,
And they've never heard of Santa Claus.
They've never heard the story of the Son of God. And that made Alfie pause.

Did that mean that they'd never know of peace on earth or the brotherhood of man?
Or know how to love, or know how to give? If they can't, no one can.
You see, life is a very special kind of thing, not just for a chosen few.
But for each and every living breathing thing. Not just me and you.

So in your Christmas prayers this year, Alfie asked me if I'd ask you to say a prayer for the wind, and the water, and the wood, and those who live there, too.

From: John Denver and The Muppets:
A Christmas Together
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