By:  Jack Swift

Johnson County Historian

 

It took me a while to realize it, but Christmas is almost here. I’m already seeing more smiley faces as I go about town. That was true of this year’s Thanksgiving as well. There’s just something about the Christmas season and Thanksgiving that inspires us to count our blessings. And often when we count our blessings, we realize that we have been blessed abundantly.
The Christmas Spirit is often invoked as a time of goodwill and friendliness, but all too often those attributes are short lived. To lift our mood, bright lights and decorations are the norms for the season. Sights and sounds we hear only at Christmas time are welcomed into our consciousness again.
There is the sound of Christmas Carols echoing across the aisles of businesses and stores as we walk to and fro looking for that perfect Christmas gift. Outside decorations adorn various homes in Johnson County. There are some people in the area that go all out with beautiful Christmas displays every year. I appreciate that and I hope they continue that tradition. The effort and cost is great I know, but those beautiful lights and symbols of Christmas serve to lighten our spirits.
As Christmas approaches, I want to mention what I consider the true meaning of Christmas. While historians tell us that Jesus Christ’s birth is not necessarily the exact date for Christ’s birth, His birth is celebrated each year on December 25. That is the “reason for the season.”
Each year at Christmas, we hear the Bible story of Jesus’ birth read and studied. For me that story never loses its wonder and awe. From his birth in a manger to his terrible crucifixion on Calvary’s Cross in Bethlehem, Jesus Christ’s life is one of love and concern.  I feel that it is that love and concern we should emulate in our own lives.
The Angel’s message to the shepherds was (KJV):“Fear not for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
Good tidings indeed!