By Joan Clayton: PNT Religion Columnist
A special memory of my first Christmas as a newly wed still warms my heart today. We lived in Eastern University’s “Vetville.” Vetville (rows of army barracks converted to apartments) housed married veterans for $25.00 a month. Everyone seemed to be in the same boat … going to school on the G.I. Bill.
I remember the huge wood burning stove that had been converted to gas. It seemed it took hours to heat one cup of water for coffee.
We didn’t know how little we had materially. We had each other and being so much in love made us billionaires.
We searched and searched for a tree that first Christmas, one we could afford. Finally we came home with our little $3.00 tree. We wrote love notes wrapped in shiny paper and hung them on our love tree. We thought our tree ornaments looked beautiful and vowed not to read them until Christmas Day. How well I remember one special note. “My darling, I love you more than life itself. You are the best wife I ever had.” (I was and still am the only wife he ever had.)
To further demonstrate my domestic skills I secretly made him a pair of pajamas out of some hand me down material. I sewed when he went to class and hid it all under the bed before he came home. Finally I could stand it no longer and gave him this early present, urging him to open it and try on its contents. To his surprise and mine I had sewed the legs together. I cried. He took me in his arms and said, “I didn’t marry you because you make a mess of sewing.” I cried some more.
As wonderful as my marriage is I have another marriage. I am married to Jesus in the spirit. He has pledged all of his love to me too. He gave me the greatest gift of all, his life. Imagine how Jesus must have felt knowing the suffering and the pain awaiting him. Imagine how God felt knowing that he would have to turn his back on his only Son and that his Son must die alone for you and me. Still Jesus came.
Nothing surpasses his love for you and me. Celebrating this season is all because of Jesus. I will not call it “Winter Break, Winter Holiday, Winter Solstice” or whatever else can be thought of to take Jesus out of Christmas. I will greet you with “Merry Christmas” because I believe and the blessed hope is in my heart.
Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), Lamb of God (John 1:29), Bread of Life (John 6:35), Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25), Chief Cornerstone (Psalm 118:22), High Priest (Hebrews 4:14), Bridegroom (Matthew 9:15, King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:16).
“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
I love the Christmas season, with the sounds, smells and sights, bringing out the best in everyone. Jesus has a way of doing that. He is love and that love is “shed abroad in our hearts.”
My husband says I have Christmas every day. I love it because “The LORD will always lead you. He will satisfy your needs in dry lands and give strength to your bones. You will be like a garden that has much water, like a spring that never runs dry” (Isaiah 58:11 NCV).
Jesus came to earth in the form of a little baby wrapped in love as a gift for mankind. He walked this earth only 33 years but changed the world forever.
Have you received your gift? It is straight to you from the heart of God.
Many years have come and gone since my first Christmas with my tall handsome husband, but I am still the best wife he ever had!
Portales resident Joan Clayton is a retired teacher and published author. Her e-mail address is: