A FEW weeks ago, as the 2019 school year came to an end, I witnessed the St Joseph’s Catholic Primary Mount Isa Year 1 class presenting a powerful performance of The Nativity.
Through the spoken word and the magic of music, the students had the audience enthralled – there was even a hip-hop spin-down floor sweep performed by the Star of Bethlehem that had me in stitches.
The spirit of Christmas was joyously alive as the students prepared for the coming of Jesus.
This year I struggled to find Christmas cards, amongst the plethora available, which illustrated the true meaning of Christmas.
It appears that commercialism is gaining the upper hand and that Christian ideals are being swamped by the incessant pursuit of the shopping dollar.
Once again, the Grinch is trying to steal Christmas.
We need to stand up and be counted.
Christmas is perhaps the only reliable and dependable occasion on the yearly calendar. There is no chance of overlooking it.
Christmas has immense significance and inspiration for Christianity as the time of the birth of Christ.
But it also exerts a beneficial, mellowing influence, whether people are good, bad or indifferent Christians at heart.
No matter what events, setbacks, misfortunes and disappointments may have occurred during the year, Christmas is a time when people forget their differences and dilemmas in order to contribute their full share to the season of goodwill to all.
There are many legends associated with Christmas and one is of the candy cane, a long-time Christmas tradition, used as decorations on Christmas trees and one of the most popular of Christmas treats.
Legend suggests their introduction was at the time of a ban on Christmas and public displays of Christianity.
The story goes that a man wished he could share the love of Jesus and the joy of Christmas with the world.
When Christmas came around, children did not get to see nativity scenes or enjoy learning about the truth of Christmas.
As a candy maker, he prayed to find a way he could offer local children a Christmas gift that would allow him to communicate the real story of Christmas.
His prayer led to the idea of the Candy Cane.
He made the candy cane in the shape of a shepherd’s staff – an upside-down J – for Jesus is the Good Shepherd.
When turned the other way, it is a normal J, which stands for Jesus.
The hard candy reminds that Jesus is our “rock”, dependable and strong.
Although no one is sure the legend is true, the beauty of it is a reminder of God’s love for us, shown in ways the candy maker could share the story of Christmas.
Still today, candy canes remind of the real reason we celebrate Christmas.
In 1912, an editorial appeared in a mainstream newspaper in Memphis, Tennessee, written by C.P.J. Mooney, titled Jesus the Perfect Man.
The words of 107 years ago are as valid today.
“In the duty of a man to his fellows, no sociologist has ever approximated the perfection of the doctrine laid down by Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount.
“Not all the investigations of chemists, not all the discoveries of explorers, not all the experiences of rulers, not all the historical facts that go to make up the sum of human knowledge … are in contradiction to one word uttered or one principle laid down by Jesus.
“The human experiences of 2000 years show that Jesus never made a mistake.
“Jesus never uttered a doctrine that was true at that time and then became obsolete.
“Jesus spoke the truth, and the truth is eternal.
“History has no record of any other man leading a perfect life or doing everything in logical order.
“Jesus is the only person whose every action and whose every utterance strike a true note in the heart and mind of every man born of woman.
“He never said a foolish thing, never did a foolish act and never dissembled.
“No poet, no dreamer, no philosopher loved humanity with all the love that Jesus bore toward all men … No mind but an infinite mind could have left behind those things which Jesus gave the world as a heritage.”
As we rejoice and celebrate this wonderful season of Christmas, let us remember that Jesus, the Perfect Man, is the reason for the season and offer thanks to baby Jesus for coming into our lives.
Let us together welcome him into the homes of our hearts.
May you have the gift of Faith, the blessing of Hope, and the peace of His Love at Christmas and always.
Have a happy and holy Christmas and a golden day, and treasure life.