We refer to Christmas as the season of giving. Most of us try hard to find gifts that friends and family will like, but not all gifts are equal. Some gifts come with a subtle hint, like an exercise machine or a book about weight loss. Other gifts are those that the giver really wants for himself. But the best gifts are those that come from someone who loves us and knows what we want.
On Sunday, July 18, 2010, one of the busiest highways in Europe became what some called “the longest table in the world.” Officials closed a 60-kilometer (37-mile) section of the A40 Autobahn in Germany’s Ruhr region so people could walk and bicycle or sit at one of 20,000 tables set up on the roadway. An estimated 2 million people came to enjoy an event the director hoped would connect people from many cultures, generations, and nations.
When a US Navy vessel arrives or departs from the military bases in Pearl Harbor, the crew of that ship lines up in dress uniform. They stand at attention at arm’s length on the outer edges of the deck, in salute to the soldiers, sailors, and civilians who died on December 7, 1941. It is a stirring sight, and participants often list it among the most memorable moments of their military career.
When our children were young, we observed Advent (the time beginning on the fourth Sunday before Christmas through Christmas Eve) by making a wreath and lighting candles each night after supper. We sang a carol and read a short Bible passage about the birth of Christ. This was a special time of preparing our hearts to celebrate Christmas.
Many churches celebrate the first Sunday in October as World Communion Sunday. It is a time to observe the Lord’s Supper with a special awareness of celebrating together with our brothers and sisters in Christ around the globe. On this day, being with a community of believers has become very meaningful to me.