The true Christmas story has become lost beneath the tinsel

I love Christmas. What I don’t love, is how this wonderful and sacred holiday has been commercialized. And how people don’t seem to know the real reason behind this season.

While I am thankful for the generous people who open their hearts and their pocketbooks to bring some cheer to others this time of year, and while I believe in the giving of gifts, I find that the real story of Christmas has somehow become lost in our exchanging of material things. The result: The Christmas story is becoming lost beneath a mound of silver tinsel, and a generation of people don’t know the real holiday story.

The real Christmas story is not how it is depicted in a Hallmark movie. Don’t get me wrong: those movies are great, light entertainment. I like it that the storylines are void of violence and bloodshed, and people working evil deeds towards one another.

Still, when I watch a so-called Christmas movie, I am left with the feeling that something is missing — the real and true story of Christmas.

While Christmas in the secular sense is a great family holiday, it is not all about baking cookies and drinking hot chocolate. The story of Christmas is the greatest and one of the most beautiful stories of all time. It is a love story — of our Father in Heaven, who loved us so much that he sent his own son, Jesus, from the glories above to dwell among us, to save us from sin and to bring us peace.

The real Christmas story doesn’t give us instructions on how to build a gingerbread house. It give us instructions on how to build our spiritual house; how to love and live with each other.

I am a believer. That doesn’t make me better than anyone else. It just means that I am forgiven and I allow the Lord Jesus to walk me through this life, telling me in a soft, sweet voice, how to love as he does. I admit, there are times when I fall short. But the Christmas story tells me Jesus understands and forgives me and gives me another opportunity to make it right.

There is no other story that can each into the heart of a person like the real Christmas story.

Call me crazy because I believe the heralding angel who told the shepherds where to find the babe and how he would be “wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger” where cows and donkeys and other farm animals were witnesses to the birth of the Prince of Peace.

You can call me crazy because I believe the Christmas story, not only because my heart tells me it is true, but also because the story of the coming of Jesus was told by the prophet Isaiah in the Old Testament of the Bible where it was recorded 14 generations before the actual birth of Jesus. By faith I can see how easy it was for Handel to put the prophet’s words to music:

“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” — Isaiah 9:6 (King James version).

So dear friends, it is because of my faith that I understand why the King of Kings, the Son of God, was sent to experience such a lowly birth. It was so he could relate to us; to feel our pain and hurts; to teach us, by example what it means to live a humble and loving life. He did it so he could let us know that there is nothing that we go through in our lifetime that he doesn’t feel, also.

As I write this column, I know that while many of us are feeling the joy of the season, so many others are clothed in depression. Jesus can lifts depression and heals the broken hearts. To know and believe the beautiful and true story of Christmas can actually change lives.

I know. It changed mine. Merry Christmas.

Christmas service

In celebration of the birth of Christ, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church at 39 NW Fifth Ct., invites the community to a Divine Liturgy at 10:30 a.m. on Christmas Day.

The order of service will include music by the church choir, which was invited to sing in Epcot in Orlando in the post-Christmas concert on Wednesday.

Following the service, the choir will sing Ukrainian Christmas carols, including the beloved “Carol of the Bells” in the church fellowship hall. Refreshments will be served. It’s free.

Gospel brunch

Dr. Henry L. Coaxum Jr. and the Historic Hampton House Community Trust will host a New Year’s Eve Gospel Brunch at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 30, at the Hampton House, 4240 NW 27th Ave.

The bunch is in honor of the late Deacon Frank Pinkney Jr., who was a staunch supporter of the historic Hampton House. The program will feature singer Leesa Richards.

Coaxum is president and CEO of Coaxum Enterprises. He grew up in Miami and is a graduate of Miami Edison Senior High School and Talladega College, under the tutelage of Dr. Enid C. Pinkney, founding president and CEO of the Hampton House community Trust.

Tickets to the event are $30 each for adults and $15 for children; and included free admission to the museum. All funds raised will go directly to the restoration project of the Hampton House.

For tickets and for more information call 305-635-5130, or email trust@historicchampton.net.

Christmas Eve

Pastor Abner Noel and Roselaine Noel of True Gospel Holiness Christian Center invite the community to a Christmas Eve celebration called “Feel the Spirit of the Season in Creole” 7 p.m. Monday at the church, 11 NE 166th St. in North Miami Beach.

The service will feature free food and live music and dancing, with special activities for children. All are welcome.

Organ recital

Organist Matthew Steyno will perform “La Nativite du Seigneur” by Oliver Messiaen as an evening meditation fo the Christmas season 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 30, at Trinity Cathedral, 464 NE 16th St., Miami.

The organ recital is about 50 minutes and is perfectly suited for the aesthetic and acoustic of Trinity.

Composer Messiaen combines his trademark colors, melodies, and rhythms to create a unique pictorial and theological celebration of the birth of Jesus. It’s free, but an offering will be received. All are welcome.