Between the Lines

Between the Lines By David Lias LeeAnne Archer, co-publisher of The Hamlin County Republican, helped her readers find the true meaning of Christmas last week.

In her column, entitled Why Jesus is better than Santa Claus, she wrote:

Finding the true meaning of Christmas is sometimes hard in the hustle and bustle of the holiday that has turned both commercial and material. Santa Claus is a symbol of Christmas cheer, but let us not forget the true miracle of Christmas . . . the birth of Jesus Christ.

Why Jesus is better than Santa Claus

Santa lives at the North Pole . . .

Jesus is everywhere.

Santa rides in a sleigh . . .

Jesus rides on the wind and walks on the water.

Santa comes but once a year . . .

Jesus is an ever-present help.

Santa fills your stocking with goodies . . .

Jesus supplies all your needs.

Santa comes down your chimney uninvited . . .

Jesus stands at your door and knocks, and then enters your heart when invited.

You have to wait in line to see Santa . . .

Jesus is as close as the mention of his name.

Santa lets you sit on his lap . . .

Jesus lets you rest in his arms.

Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly . . .

Jesus has a heart full of love.

All Santa can offer is Ho, Ho, Ho . . .

Jesus offers health, help and hope.

Santa says "You better not cry" . . .

Jesus says "Cast all your cares on me for I care for you."

Santa's little helpers make toys . . .

Jesus makes new life, mends wounded hearts, repairs broken homes and builds mansions.

Santa may make you chuckle but . . .

Jesus gives you joy that is strength.

While Santa puts gifts under your tree . . .

Jesus became our gift and died on a tree.

* * * * * * * * * *

I know it's likely that, by the time you read this, you may have already completed your Christmas plans, or celebrated the holiday by exchanging gifts and enjoying plenty of good food and fellowship with friends and family.

Tim Waltner, publisher of the Freeman Courier, wrote last week that he found, in a tattered file of printed items collected from various sources over the past 25 years, a yellowing piece of paper with suggestions to help us remember the "spirit of the season."

Maybe you'll conclude, as I have, that these suggestions can play a valuable part in our lives not just at Christmas, but every day of the year:

Set a place at the table for those who might otherwise be alone at theirs.

Use your wheels to transport those without to Christmas or other church services.

Shovel your neighbor's sidewalks.

Let your opponent get the big half of the wishbone.

Give cuttings of your favorite plant to someone who will talk them into growing up green and beautiful.

Instead of giving your nephew advice, ask for some.

Never miss a chance to let a child lick a stirring spoon or a baking bowl.

Visit the Humane Society and adopt an orphan pet.

Write a letter to the editor.

Gift wrap a packet of fabric scraps for your quilting grandmother.

Appear at a nursing home with a chessboard and challenge someone to a game.

When they beg for "one more story," say yes. Then tell them the greatest story ever told.

Give a friend the secret recipe she's been angling for all year.

Give your kids the benefit of the doubt when they say it's time to get up Christmas morning and your alarm clock says it's only 3 a.m.

Make sure the first gift you open is the one with the bedraggled bow, snarled Scotch tape and pucker-up paper. And watch your child's eyes shine.

Give as many hugs as you can; they're warmer than sweaters.

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