I believe in Christmas.
I believe as a Christian that Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus, the son of God. The Messiah.
I believe you have the right to disagree with me, but I know what I believe in my heart.
I believe no Christmas is official until someone sings "O Holy Night" (no crooning, please) on Christmas Eve. I will accept the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's "Messiah" as a worthy substitution, particularly if I get to sing along.
I believe there is nothing quite so special as hearing the squeals of little children on Christmas morning when they check to see what Santa Claus dropped off under the tree while they were sleeping.
I believe Cameron Charles Yarbrough, a 2-year-old who warms my innards every time I see him, is going to get his socks knocked off this Christmas. He was too young to know much about the last one,
but the kid is a fast learner.
I believe "Mary, Did You Know?" written by Mark Lowry with music by Buddy Green, is fast becoming one of the greatest Christmas songs of all time and that "Jingle Bell Rock" is already one of the worst. That piece of tripe was written by a PR man from Massachusetts and an advertising writer from Texas who evidently had too much free time on their hands.
I believe — no, I know — that I am the world's worst wrapper of Christmas gifts. I don't allot enough wrapping paper to cover the present. I can't fold the sides neatly and I use way too much tape. My gifts are as ugly as a warthog but it is the thought that counts — I hope.
I believe the tradition of sending Christmas cards has managed to survive our instant-messaging, Wi-Fi culture. I hope that never changes. There are people we hear from only once a year even though we could probably find their e-mail address easily enough. That just makes their Christmas card that much more special.
I believe that Salvation Army bell ringers can get me in the Christmas spirit quicker than anything or anybody. I find it hard to pass their kettles without dropping in some money. I always feel better when I do.
I believe that it should always be cold at Christmastime. The colder, the better. I'm sure people in Hawaii and South Florida would disagree with me, but I like it cold at Christmas. Makes the hot chocolate taste better.
I believe Christmas shoppers need to take a deep breath and relax. Christmas shopping seems to bring out the worst in us. We get rude and impatient and harried. Slow down and enjoy the experience, folks. It's about Christmas. It's about love. Don't be such a Scrooge.
I believe we don't give enough credit to those selfless souls who run homeless shelters, feed the poor and care for the less fortunate at Christmastime. I am going to volunteer one of these days to such an organization and rediscover the true meaning of Christmas. It will also be a good way to remind me how blessed I am. I haven't done it yet, but I will.
In fairness, I enjoy having my family around on Christmas Day. (Besides, getting our two kids, in-law kids and grandkids together under the same roof at the same time requires more logistical planning than the D-Day invasion.)
I believe that the Christmas spirit shouldn't be confined to a few weeks in December. We badly need Peace on Earth and goodwill to all men (and women) every day of every year. I pray that one day we can celebrate Christmas without our troops being deployed to dangerous outposts around the world and deprived of the opportunity to enjoy the holidays with their loved ones.
I believe we should do all in our power to preserve the true meaning of Christmas. The season seems to be always under attack for reasons I don't totally understand and those of us who do celebrate the day seem to forget too quickly what Christmas is really about.
I believe there is nothing wrong with gifts and parties and the thrill that children get from Santa Claus, but there is much more to the Christmas season than that. As I get older, that becomes more apparent. I believe the greatest gift is yet to come.
I believe in Christmas. I truly do.
Dick Yarbrough is a North Georgia resident whose column appears Saturdays and on gainesvilletimes.com. You can reach him at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, GA 31139.