Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The holidays.........

Happy Holidays?

I don't think so. It's Christmas. It's Christ's birth celebration.

And we gather round our families, dinner tables laden with the most savory foods and wonderful desserts. We exchange gifts. We may even sing carols and participate in church programs. We are busy and filled with a special joy that at no other time do we feel.

But there are places that aren't laden with wonderful foods and gifts all around. There are women and men who want the day to pass quickly and quietly so they don't have to ponder their families "out there" without them.

They sit behind their bars and may receive a hygiene package from the Salvation Army or a small pack of necessities given by a ministry here and there. But they are not allowed to share with one another if they can afford commissary and another inmate cannot. They are not allowed to watch every sappy Christmas movie on TV. They are not even in some units allowed to gather together simply to break out in carols if they choose.

I was fortunate during my incarceration; because I did not miss Thanksgiving or Christmas. I did not miss out on the holidays that in our family were of the highest importance. I may have missed other holidays and birthdays but I was home in time for the holidays and I cannot imagine what my state of mind might have been had I had to spend Christmas behind bars.

Especially in the early days of my time behind bars, those times when I did not have a relationship with Christ, Christmas would have had a far different meaning to me and I would have focused totally on what I was missing and what I did not have and could not do. I would not have focused on the birth of our Savior and the grand plan the God of all had put in place.

I pray as you gather round your tables and trees and gather in celebration; that you say a prayer to the one who came to save, for each and every man and woman currently behind bars. I pray you lift them up that they find peace and the love that only God can provide during this very special time of year and no matter your circumstances or what you face, realize you are blessed beyond measure. You are out here, reading this blog, preparing for your "holidays" and hopefully focusing on the great "I AM". He was born a baby, brought the Good News to us that we can be saved and died on a cross for each and everyone of us; even the least of us we may want to forget about.

Pray for them. Those you might call your enemies. Pray. And be thankful and joyful. Christ is born.

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