Fellowship of Christian Farmers

Kevin Cernek

December 13, 2020

 

“Merry Christmas!”

 

A couple were in a busy shopping center just before Christmas.

The wife suddenly noticed that her husband was missing. Since they had a lot to do, she called his phone. “Where are you?” she asked. “You know we have lots to do.”

He replied, “Do you remember the jewelers we went to about 10 years ago, and you fell in love with that diamond necklace. I couldn’t afford it at the time, and I said that one day I would get it for you?”

Little tears started to well up in her eyes and she got all choked up. “Yes, I do remember that shop,” she replied.

“Well, I’m in the video game store next to that.”

When our children were young, I’d rise out of bed at 2:30 in the morning on Christmas day and head to the barn. We’d start early so we could get back in the house before the kids woke up. But that never happened because, well, you know how excited kids are on Christmas morning. After chores they would meet me at the door and with one pulling on each arm, they’d try to drag me along and get me to sit down on the couch in front of the Christmas tree. Then we’d open the gifts that my wife had so carefully selected and wrapped. Then came the necessary assembly and they’d play until the excitement waned and they realized they were hungry.

 

Our tradition is to have what we call “egg balls” for breakfast. They are delicious sausage balls somehow wrapped in eggs and baked in the oven. And they are delicious.  Those, and all the other delicious homemade delicacies fill us up and keep us satisfied all day until the big turkey dinner later in the evening.

Many of you remember, because it wasn’t that long ago, before we had ever heard of the Internet, we’d get Christmas catalogues in the mail from places like Montgomery Wards, Sears, and J.C. Penney. These came weeks, and even months before Christmas so we’d have time to order and receive our packages before the big day. I remember flipping through the pages of those magazines just to see what would catch my eye, and then of course, I’d circle the items I wanted the most.

I remember in particular, at the bottom of one page, seeing a picture of a shiny red and yellow tandem axle dump truck. The caption said when you pushed it, it made noise like the real thing and it had a real hoist and cylinder. It cost a whopping $4.99 and was made of metal. By today’s standards it would probably be deemed unsafe because of the possibility of sharp corners that might come loose and cut me or poke my eye out.

 

You can imagine my joy when I opened that gift on Christmas morning. Back then, there were no guarantees that we’d receive what we were asking for. There were a lot of anomalies involved – like having eight kids in the family and having no idea what the financial situation was. Plus my parents didn’t want us to develop a mindset of just getting things for Christmas. It was supposed to be more about giving. That was a good plan on their part, but the reality of the joy of giving probably didn’t become real until we became parents of our own. The joy of giving is now so much more meaningful and fun.

 

Today we find great joy in giving, not only to our family, but in giving through our church and other organizations whose goal it is to make sure everyone in our community has a Merry Christmas. We give through organizations like Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child. And we participate in what we call “The Angel Tree” ministry sponsored by our local food pantry. This program involves detailed gift giving to local families in our community who are facing hardship. It is very satisfying and rewarding to be involved in these ministries.

Another satisfying and rewarding experience is attending a Christmas Eve Worship Service. Thursday night, December 24 at 4:00 p.m., we are having a candlelight Christmas Eve Service at Martintown Community Church. You have the choice of coming inside to worship, or staying in your car in the parking lot and watching on the Jumbotron. We will have singing and a short message of hope and encouragement. If you are in the area plan to attend. We are located at W8996 Lena Street, Martintown, WI.

 

Don’t let anyone cancel your Christmas. Take the scenic drive to Martintown and experience the joy of the Lord.

 

Merry Christmas Everyone!

 

(Kevin Cernek is Lead Pastor at Martintown Community Church in Martintown, Wisconsin and Assistant to the Executive Director at Fellowship of Christian Farmers International, Lexington, IL).