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How many of you have special memories that come to mind at the mention of Christmas? As the holiday season comes around this year, many memories have been flooding my mind.

When I think back to my childhood, I remember Christmas as a time of joy; a time of celebration. Perhaps some of you had Christmas celebrations in your family also. Ours looked something like this:

The Way We Were
On Christmas Eve, my family (consisting of my younger brother Todd, and my Mom and Dad) made the annual journey to Grandma's house on the south side of St. Louis (about a 20-minute trip from our house in Manchester, Missouri).

There we met up with Grandma, Grandpa, aunts and uncles, and a handful of cousins (with whom my brother and I could get along with for just about one night, but not quite!).

Grandma greeted us at the door in her best Christmas apron, as she was preparing the Hartmann family traditional Christmas ham, and of course, potato salad (Grandma made potato salad with everything). My brother and I immediately grabbed the toys Grandma had in her closet, and got to work making a mess in the living room, while trying to keep the dogs out of the Legos.

When dinner was finally ready, we sat down at the dining room table, Grandpa said the blessing, and everyone dug in (everyone except the dogs, who waited with baited breath under the table for anything to fall their way).

After dinner was completed and dishes were clean, we were allowed to open the door to the family room, where Grandma had strategically placed what seemed to be hundreds of presents under a glowing tree.

Grandma passed out the presents one at a time (by now, you're beginning to see that Grandma was in charge), and we all watched with delight as each person carefully opened their presents.

When all the unwrapping was done, and the assembling of various presents was complete, the adults had coffee and took turns telling jokes, while the children played with their new presents. Also, while the adults weren't looking, the kids had a free-for-all on the cookies and candy that Grandma laid out on the dining room table after dinner. One by one, the chocolate mints and caramels disappeared (amazingly, the anise flavored cookies remained in tact).

Around 11:00 p.m., Mom realized she had two kids, filled with candy, exhausted from playing, perhaps a bit cranky, that needed to get to bed. So Dad packed up our presents in the car, we gave everyone a good-bye hug, and headed home to Manchester.

On the way home, Mom would tell us to look out the window to see if we could see Rudolph. Of course, there was always at least one helicopter in the sky with a blinking red light that convinced us we did. Our Christmas celebration ended with my Dad carrying us up from the car to put us to bed.

Sounds like fun, doesn't it? Well, I have to admit it was. Christmas Eve was a magical, special night. It meant being part of a loving family and knowing the joy it can bring.

But things changed in time. As I grew older, the promise of Santa Claus was revoked, there were different engagements to attend, the realities of Christmas shopping set in, and the glimmer of Christmas faded.

That is, until Jesus came into my life.

True Holiday Joy Is In Jesus
You see, Christmas loses its glimmer without the Star of Bethlehem shining in it. I can honestly say that it was Jesus who gave meaning to and restored the joy of celebrating Christmas in my life.

I found out that Jesus Christ of Nazareth was born for me, that He had a personal and purposeful destiny with me in mind. He was born to die, so that if I believed in Him, and asked Him into my life, I could become part of God's family and be with Him forever.

Christmas is John 3:16:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Everything Jesus had, every eternal promise of God, He gave to me. Christmas changed from being a celebration of a day, to a celebration of a man, the Son of God.

With His birth, with His death, He gave life to me. He restored my joy, and gave me hope for a future. The night I gave my life to Christ was a magical, special night.

How You Can Obtain That Joy
Perhaps you are reading this right now, and you've lost the joy Christmas used to bring. Maybe you're tired and worn out from the pressures of this world. Maybe you've never been part of a Christmas celebration, let alone part of a family.

Wherever you are today, God wants you to know Him personally and be a part of His family.

If you would like to know Jesus as your Savior, just pray this simple prayer out loud to God and mean it in your heart:
Dear Lord Jesus,
I know that I'm a sinner. I realize that I can't make it in this world on my own. Thank you for dying for me. Right now, the best way I know how, I receive and trust You as my Savior and Lord. According to Romans 10:9-10, I am now saved. I can know You intimately now. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Jesus Makes All The Difference!
Jesus was born so you could know what it means to be a part of His family and know the joy that only He can bring.

My prayer for you is that as you celebrate Christmas, you'll celebrate Jesus. Trust me, it makes all the difference.

Copyright © Todd Bailey Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Wendy Bailey
Web site: Todd Bailey Ministries
Todd and Wendy Bailey have ministered in hundreds of churches worldwide, proclaiming the Word of God. His book entitled, The Power of Choice has been a blessing to believers nationwide. Many lives have been changed through the simple truths conveyed in his book. Todd is a graduate of New Life Bible School “Special School of Ministry” in Cleveland, Tennessee, RHEMA Bible Training Center in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma and Life Christian University in Tampa, Florida. Todd and Wendy’s ministry has experienced a multitude of decisions for salvation, instant manifestation of healings, and help to people through the working of the Gifts of the Spirit.

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