‘He’s the reason for season’
Christmas is a special time for many people, and while the birth of Jesus is celebrated around this time, some local pastors shared what the Christmas season means to them.
Pastor Jeff Scurlock of First Assembly of God in East Brewton said for him that Christmas, as a child was special.
“Our family was always involved at church and we always had some type of Christmas program to prepare for,” he said. “I remember one year breaking into tears when it was my turn to say my Christmas memory verse.”
Looking back, Scurlock said he can see how hard his parents worked to make Christmas special.
“As an adult and a father, I’ve tried to make Christmas the same for my kids,” he said. “Jesus was and is always first. Along with the real spirit of Christmas, I loved providing excitement for my kids on Christmas day.”
As a grandfather, or Papa as he is called, Scurlock said Christmas has taken on a whole new dimension for him.
“It means I have to share with other grandparents, be patient, take the time I get and make the most of it,” he said. “In my mind I still have a major role – to make sure my grandchildren know that Papa puts Jesus first and for me to help them know personally the Christ of Christmas. I also want to do my part in spoiling them.”
Ed Glaize, pastor at Brewton’s First United Methodist Church, said this is the 100th anniversary of the Christmas truce during the first year of World War I.
Glaize said on Christmas Eve 1914 on the Western Front spontaneous ceasefires and truces broke out.
“Carols were sung between the lines and on Christmas Day, the forces who were fighting one another came together in No Man’s Land, and exchanged greetings and gifts,” he said.
“Peace came to the place where a day before guns roared and blood was spilled,” he said. “For a brief moment, enemies acted like friends. For a short time combatants saw each other as brothers. Then the shelling started back. The madness marched on.”
Glaize said Christmas is a time of cheer and goodwill but too soon, the good will fades.
“The poor are forgotten The pews are empty, and families are too busy to spend time with each other, and of course the shops are open. The tide of transactions is ceaseless… except on Christmas.
“Christmas then is God’s dream for humanity,” he said. “Where there is peace on earth, good will to all people. A time when joy is genuine and love abounds for family, friends, the less fortunate and even our enemies. God became man then to inaugurate the new reality. He longs to make it a permanent part of the human condition once more. The question we must ask ourselves is ‘why don’t we live like it is Christmas all the time?’ ‘Why don’t we accept God’s dream of what He wants us to become?’”
Parker Johnson, pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Brewton, said during Advent, which culminates with Christmas, there are two advents, or comings, of Jesus Christ, who is both fully God and fully man, to look at.
“We celebrate the Lord’s First Advent as we mark his coming into this world as a babe in Bethlehem – born to die for the sins of his people,” Johnson said.
“What began in a manger ended on a cross where the wrath of God was satisfied and poured out on Christ for us. We know that his sacrifice worked because of the resurrection, and soon thereafter, his ascension into heaven.”