For many people, Christmas is dark, no matter how bright the lights, but brighter days are ahead

Matthew 1:18 "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise:"

I feel so honored and blessed to be the one writing for this week's Faith page. Thank you, Central Oregonian, for allowing us to write about Christ Jesus and faith in your paper.

Reading on from this point in Matthew, the rest of the story unfolds.

I wondered what I might write as I sat in my chair. Looking out the window at the decorations in my yard, a smile began to creep across my face.

Earlier in the week, my wife and I drove around town one evening, looking at all the lights and decorations. Oh, how I love that. Then there is Christmas in the Pines and the Grimes Christmas Scene.

After I had decorated my lawn and house, one Sunday coming home from church, I noticed someone had helped themselves to one of my yard decorations, a penguin no less. I was flabbergasted to say the least. Well you can't find that particular one in the stores any longer, but I promptly bought two other decorations. I refuse to allow some grinch to darken my Christmas.

I know for many people, Christmas is dark, no matter how bright the lights. I'm no Griswold — far from it — but I love the lights. But, no matter how bright the lights, it's dark for some. I am always of the belief that brighter, better days are ahead of us. We just need hope.

I have found that hope in Jesus Christ. As the old song says, "I once was lost, but now I'm found, was blind but now I see."

Yesterday may not have been good and today not a whole lot better, but have faith in God, in His Son Jesus, hope in tomorrow. Just as I refused to allow some grinch to steal my Christmas, don't allow some grinch steal yours. Not only don't let him steal your Christmas but every day afterwards.

Grinch can come in many shapes and sizes. Grinch may even stare back at you in the mirror. Faith, it only takes a step. Like a small child trying to learn how to walk, holding onto the coffee table and taking such small tentative steps, then "plop" down they fall. They may cry a little, but then they are right back at it again, climbing up to the coffee table and taking another step.

How many times do I have to fall before I learn to walk then? Well, ask the baby. He or she keeps trying until succeeding.

Christmas — it's not the gifts, nor is it the lights. It's not my wife's baking or the crackle of a warm fire in the stove. It's our celebration of the Christ Child, Jesus, the Savior, the Messiah. We each one celebrate a little differently and that is certainly OK.

Just celebrate and enjoy, and don't let darkness win. Remember, light always dispels darkness, so let your light shine especially in your heart, and Merry Christmas.

Pastor Ron Hemphill is the pastor at New Life Bible Chapel. He can be reached at 541-447-6543.

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