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12.24.2004    |    A Child's Christmas
In her Wall Street Journal post today, Peggy Noonan describes the wonder of her favorite Christmas present, and the effect it had on her visions of the holy child. She invites readers to submit their own favorites, and here's mine.

I must have been ten years old, and I'd just joined the Boy Scouts. Being a city kid (Bronx, New York), I couldn't wait to go out into the woods and live like Dan'l Boone on the frontier. Or at least as I imagined he had lived. Of course, at that time, I hadn't a clue.

Well, Santa, in the person of my dad, got me the equivalent of a Swiss Army knife, only this one made for the Boy Scouts. It had two blades, a can opener, a screwdriver, and a few things whose purpose I couldn't begin to devine. Well, I stayed up all night playing with this knife, succeeding in giving myself several knicks and cuts -- which I hid from my parents, so as not to worry them.

Now, by the time I was ten, I had known that Santa Claus was a myth. As to the Nativity and the real meaning of Christmas, I knew not. My dad was a professed atheist; my mother came from a Jewish family and, although she believed in God, never attended services nor forced anything on me. So, I was adrift -- until, after getting my knife the day before Christmas (that was our family's tradition, such as it was), I went to Midnight Mass with a friend -- my first Christian service -- at least the first one I was aware of (my older sister is Catholic, and had taken me when I was a baby, but, as they say, it didn't take).

The Mass blew me away, making me realize that the gift of the knife was nothing, and that there was a much greater gift that somehow was so much more important -- the Holy Child. But, as I was still a child, I mentally filed it under things to unpack later, when I would be able to without incurring the anger of my parents -- neither one of whom would have been very happy to see me as a Christian.

I make no claim to having been born again in Christ when I was ten; that took until I was well into my 30s. But that Christmas, back in the 1950s, was the very first time that I had come to have at least an inkling that there are Christmas gifts, and the Gift of Christmas itself in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

How wonderful to read about your first experience with Christianity as a ten year old whose parents were not "church-goers." I am thankful that God reaches through to children who have limited exposure to assembled faith. I have done much "picking up" of my kids' friends to take them to Sunday School, etc. I have also dedicated countless hours to VBS. I pray that God will keep touching the children who have experienced Him at these occasional opportunities.

10:17 PM, December 30, 2004  

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.