Column: Christmas is a time for nostalgia and hope
Published 12:26 pm Tuesday, December 27, 2022
Christmas is a special time of year for a multitude of reasons. It is one of the few times Mississippi is cold.There are days planned with good food and the countless Christmas movies which are just as good the first time you watch them as they are the 20th or even 50th time.
Tradition, coming home and love are general themes of Christmas time. One thing you do not prepare for as a kid is having your own home for Christmas. It is different to celebrate Christmas multiple times over the month of December and early January.
My wife insisted on one thing being done at our tiny house this year. She wanted to be able to decorate it for Christmas. It is far from being finished, but the home has a seven foot Christmas tree with presents sprawled out across the apron. Our cats love hiding behind the presents and one likes to sleep curled up at the base of the tree.
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Traditionally, I have watched “National Lampoon’s Family Christmas Vacation” at least once and will watch “The Christmas Story” all day Sunday. Christmas Eve is when the family gives presents to each other and Christmas Day is when Santa brings gifts to everyone.
Family time is one of the most important aspects of having traditions this time of year. They are the ones who ultimately make a specific movie or game special. Over the years my family back home in Arkansas have played charades, categories and reindeer games.
Each year it can be a little bittersweet as you enjoy your time with family and think back on the days of yore. I’m sure my mother thinks back to the Christmases spent with her cousins from Michigan at her grandmother’s home; my dad probably thinks back to the Wallace Christmas in an old white house in Bogue Chitto.
Christmas nostalgia usually hits home when I think about the nights I would spend reading under the lights of a Christmas tree. “The Best Christmas Tree Ever” documents a tree’s journey to main street and lighting up for the holidays thanks to the efforts of Tonka vehicles and hardworking people. I hope I can still read it when I’m able to get back home.
The last few weeks we have studied the first coming of Christ at church. John the Baptist preached in the wilderness of Judea according to Matthew 3. The Israelites had a nostalgic connection to the wilderness. It was a place where God came down to earth on Mount Sinai to meet with them and where he sustained them with water and food during the Exodus from Egypt. God did the same thing again in Isaiah as the Israelites, who had been deported to Babylon, made their way back home in the wilderness, or the desert. In a mirror of the Exodus, Jesus is later called up out of Egypt after his birth due to King Herod’s plot to kill the young boys in Bethlehem which fulfilled a handful of prophecies.
I assume it would have been slightly nostalgic for Joseph to go to the town of his fathers in Bethlehem as commanded by the Roman emperor’s census.
It was not an easy journey. His wife was with child and it was not an ordinary baby. The baby was Immanuel, God with us, and his name was to be Jesus, to rescue. Born in a manger, Jesus took on flesh to walk as a man for 35 years.
Through Jesus’s life, death and resurrection we have hope. I’m reminded of our hope each year by the Christmas story. In this winter season, the world seems cold and dark like death. I’m thankful for the birth of Jesus. It is in faith through Him I have hope for what is next and I have been reborn like the spring gives rebirth to nature in Mississippi.
My prayer is you will receive this good news with joy no matter how many times you have heard the Christmas story. One day “When the roll is called up yonder,” I hope to be reunited with family like how Christmas is able to bring us together.
Hunter Cloud is a reporter for The Daily Leader. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org