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The Words of Christmas

The Words of Christmas

Logos, The Word made flesh, it’s what we want to present to our families during the holiday season. But it’s so difficult in the craziness of baking, buying, and decorating to portray Christ as more thrilling than the trimmings. Too often He is the add-on present instead of the core gift.

Our daughter Charity confused words when she was little. Moon and loon, frew and flew and stunk and skunk.

“Stunk is a bad smell,” I corrected. “Skunk is an animal. The skunk stunk,” I pinched my nose and waved my hand in front of my face like I could smell one that just walked past.

Laughter rippled through her fingers like waves. Her pudgy hand flew tight against her mouth. She tossed her flaxen head up, looking to heaven, her whole body full of glee, then fixed wide eyes on me. White silken strands of hair settled against dimpled cheeks, black thick lashes accentuated aquamarine hues that danced like gems in sunlight.

I loved those mixed-up words. I loved the way she laughed at her mistakes. I swept her into my arms and squeezed until the giggles ended with a new distraction.

As she got older, she stopped before tripping over a word to pucker her eyebrows and question, “How do you say that?”

Then she ran her tongue over the word, as if she caressed its flavor, tasting it, testing it, memorizing the way to pronounce it.

Words are both wonderful and terrible. Proverbs 25:11 paints a beautiful image with “a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” (KJV) But the book of James calls the tongue “a world of evil” and ponders how we can praise God yet curse man with the same mouth.

I ask myself as I gaze down the row on Sunday morning, what do they understand of words? My grandchildren are lined up like a ladder of tow-heads in the pew. From lowest rung to tallest, they sing about Jesus, about glory, the Most High and Savior. Letters stream across a big white screen. Verbs like trust, believe, redeem and hope roll from their little lips. The older ones actually read the words, the younger act as if they do, mesmerized by the bigness of the scenes.

I am struck by the contrast of inattention in the midst of colossal import. Worship of the One to whom I mouth these words both shames and humbles me as I reign in my flying thoughts. I return to the angelic announcement of a baby born in Bethlehem, lying in a manager when human flesh clothed the Son of God.

My challenge to you this season is to pick out the words. You know, the taken-for-granted-used-all-the-time pieces of the story of Christ. The words we sing, the ones we read, the puzzle pieces of our faith. Give them definition again. Pick them out, one by one from a sea of adult Christian talk and linger there like a child. Taste them, test them, roll them around your tongue. Deliberate on meanings, and as you do, teach them to your children.

Bring the majesty of incarnate Jesus into your heart and it will overflow into your child’s.

Ask what Lamb of God means. Think about Messiah. Dwell on Immanuel. Immaculate. Infinite. Sinless. Consider the Immeasurable Word made flesh. Let Glory flow from your lips to your heart. Caress the indescribable truth of the Gift of the season. And then pass those precious truths down from generation to generation.

By: Sylvia Schroeder serves as Women’s Care Coordinator at Avant Ministries. She and her husband raised four children in Italy and Germany, where they were missionaries with Avant. Their children are all married and they have twelve grandchildren. Visit her blog, When the House is Quiet, atsylviaschroeder.com.

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One Comment

  1. Well said!! The words from Proverb about words fitly spoken, your mom had a couple of poem books with that title. The book was silver. I’m afraid I don’t have it any more.. but your words today reminded me. May our AWE of Christmas be in more AWE of Who Christmas is all about. May our families know not only in their heads but HEARTs!!

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