Today’s Catch comes from a story by one of our regular readers that was inspired by yesterday’s Catch about silver bells. We appreciate it so much when you share your stories with us, and, as much as possible, we like to share them with everyone.
I also want to take this opportunity to remind you all about Church at the Catch, Sunday at 6pm Pacific. Through the magic of technology, you can log onto facebook.com/thecatch and watch and participate. Join us this weekend. Even if you have your own church to go to on Sunday morning, make us your Sunday night church! Do like my daughter-in-law does: she sets the alarm on her smart phone for 5:55pm Sunday so she won’t forget. Time for church!
Also, don’t forget to make use of our Prayer Warriors. They are literally standing by for you!
I love the sound of bells ringing at Christmas time — church bells chiming, bell choirs ringing, Salvation Army Santas jingling. Songs about bells this time of year are especially meaningful to me since I can’t see the brightness that twinkly lights proclaim to a world of darkness. Bells do for me through their sound what lights do in the dark for those who see.
I grew up as a Jewish kid in the midst of what was then a predominantly Irish Catholic parish. People would refer to their section of the township by what parish it was even if they weren’t Catholic. We always had a Christmas tree because my mother grew up with one. Her dad owned a butcher shop in a non-Jewish neighborhood, so after the season the aluminum tree came home with him. My mother liked anything pretty and any reason to engage in celebration was a good one even if it wasn’t our own. Both of my grandmothers, besides sharing the same initials, also shared their Christmas Day birthdays, so I grew up with the Christmas family gathering complete with turkey and all the trimmings, just for different reasons. I didn’t know about the typical trip to the movie theater and Chinese food so often experienced by Jewish people on Christmas day until I was twenty.
So I was the Jewish kid who grew up having Christmas in that sort of commercial sense of which you spoke, but like you said, even that isn’t bad because little becomes much when placed in the Master’s hands. So when I came face-to-face with the real Jesus because of glimpses of Him through all those childhood Christmassy references pointing to Him, and through the teachers I had who demonstrated His heart with human skin on, I recognized Him for who he was.
And that first real Christmas when I met Him — when midnight dawned and Christmas Eve turned into Christmas morning and a secular radio station (which played many more real carols back in those days than they do now) played Mahalia Jackson’s version of “Silent Night,” I came to a dead stop alone in the center of my living room in the shadow of my not so tall Christmas tree and was struck with the wonder and amazement of realizing that the one who was born in the Christmas story — the one at the center of it all, who created all of us, loves, and wants to hang with even me. Oh, there was never such a Christmas moment as that one! And every year when midnight brings the dawn of Christmas morning, I’ll always stop for a quiet moment to remember it.