Please welcome Murray Pura.
The tree in our house goes up right after Hallowe’en on November 1st, which some Christians celebrate as All Saints Day. And because Hallowe’en really means Holy Evening, and was meant to be a night of prayer and worship in anticipation of All Saints Day, the trick or treaters who show up at our door are likely to hear the strains of ghost music – Holy Ghost Music! Because we will be playing all sorts of upbeat Christian worship music – sometimes even Handel’s Messiah – as we prepare for our two month celebration of the birth of Christ.
A culture war is going on around us. Some people want to supplant Christmas with Hallowe’en and make it the most important holiday of the year. These people are encouraging folks to string up lights, play Hallowe’en songs, exchange gifts, and tie in a big family harvest dinner with the trick and treating. Christians are fighting back but they have a problem. The spiritual heart of Christmas was stolen long ago by retail outlets that have made the Christmas season a vast commercial enterprise. On top of that, atheists have attacked Christmas, and secularists, and many that want to empty Christmas of its true meaning.
The Amish celebrate Christmas. There is a tree, some presents, some special dishes. However it really is a 1800s Christmas because the emphasis is not on gift giving but on gathering for carols, on worshipping God, on lifting up Christ, and on doing it together. It is a daylong affair of feasting and blessing and singing, not a day focused on opening presents and playing with them. They simply don’t make gift giving the most important thing and are modest about how many gifts are given and what kind they are– favorites are items made by hand, like chairs and tables or a leather bridle for a horse or a doll crafted by a doll maker who knows the girl it is being given to personally.
Perhaps that’s how Christians can give Christmas a daylong spiritual focus again – by emphasizing the personals instead of the presents – a personal gathering for food and fellowship, a modest number of personal and intimate gifts offered freely to one another, and the joyous celebration of a personal God in Jesus Christ the Lord.
About Murray Pura
Murray Pura has published with Harper One San Francisco, Harper Collins/Zondervan, Baker Publishing Group, Barbour, and Harvest House Publishers, as well as Helping Hands Press, and has been a finalist for many literary awards in Canada and the USA, winning the Word Award of Toronto in 2012. Pura is a prolific writer and has produced over 25 books, including historical fiction, romance, westerns, suspense, and inspirational works.
Bestsellers include the novels The Rose of Lancaster County, A Road Called Love, The Wings of Morning, and Ashton Park, as well as the novella An Amish Family Christmas, and the short stories The Last Waltz and The Devil to Pay. He makes his home near the Waterton-Glacier Peace Park on the border between Montana and Alberta.
Two PDF copies to give away to persons commenting on the blog & selected at random by Kate Lloyd.
The PDF copies cannot be lent or borrowed but must remain with the contest winners. Thank you.
Winners may come from any country.