My First Christmas in America

by April Joy Brady (Mark’s wife)

This is my first Christmas in America.  My previous ones have been in my home country of the Philippines.  People’s attitudes here toward Christmas are a lot different than there.  It seems as if some of the people are forgetting the real reason for Christmas.  Some even go as far as to remove “Christ” from the word Christmas with “X-mas”.  It makes me wonder if they have removed Christ from their hearts as well.  I’m not trying to be judging, it would be difficult not to be that way growing up here in America, with constantly being bombarded with TV ads and popular culture.

This season here seems to be more about parties, gifts, and where to spend the holiday.  When in the Philippines, where resources don’t flow so freely, Christmas tends to be much simpler, and we are happy to get to see family and share a simple meal, and laugh.  There is a lot of laughter back home.  I imagine Jesus’s first Christmas was simple as well.  Mary and Joseph adoring their new born son, lying still in a feeding trough with some hay, and perhaps an animal’s covering over him.  A far cry from a beautiful wooden crib from Ashley Furniture with blankets from Macys!

I think I have been blessed to have my previous life and Christmas’ in the Philippines.  I hope in the years to come I do not stray too far from my roots, especially when it comes to the attitude of what Christmas really is, or supposed to be about.

I will enjoy the time spent with my husband and the gifts he has bought for me as well as the other gifts from friends and coworkers, but in my heart I will be in Bethlehem, humming, “Away in the Manger”.

Merry Christmas everyone.  May Christ fill your hearts with his love.

April

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

What I Really Want for Christmas

Getting ready for Christmas can be tiring!  There are so many things to do, places to go, and people to see.  It’s great to have the opportunity to see people.  In fact, receiving a Christmas card each year is the only time I get to hear from some people.

I just laughed, because it dawned on me that Christmas is the only time God gets to hear from some people too!  Okay, it’s actually not funny at all.  Someone asked me what I wanted for Christmas the other day.  They suggested we go share a meal at one of my favorite local restaurants, but what I really want for Christmas is to be with them on Christmas day.  I can’t go into details as to why I can’t be with them, because I don’t want to change the names in order protect the guilty.

After all, Christmas is really only about people, or should be.  You see it was God loving his people, and wanting to be with them so bad that He was willing to give his only son to become a sacrifice for us. For the things that “we”, not him have done wrong.  God wants to be with people.  He loves us so much, and hates it when we suffer, and struggle in life.  When we hurt, feel so alone and don’t know what to do, or where to turn. You see, we are all on God’s Christmas list.  Even those of us who accepted his Christmas gift to us a long time ago.  We drift away from him from time to time.

So what do you say?  Can you join me in giving God what He wants for Christmas?  Spend some time with him?  Talk to him?  Give him an opportunity to reply to your heart.  I know this, you will be glad you did.  It might even turn out to be the best Christmas Party you go to all season!

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.