Merry Christmas. It’s a magical time of year, and perhaps Connection Newspapers has over indulged in displaying the many rituals of Christmas on our pages in the past few weeks. In events around the area, a sense of community has infused holiday parades, Christmas tree lightings, menorah lightings, choral performances, singing of carols and other traditional events with warmth and joy.
We have covered performances of “The Nutcracker” and “A Christmas Carol;” covered acts of compassion and giving in almost every corner of our communities; photographed Santa in so many places arriving in so many ways — by boat at Lake Anne in Reston, by firetruck in Vienna and McLean and other places, by motorcycle around Fairfax County; religious celebrations of many kinds; gift indulgences of many kinds.
But Christmas is about the birth of Jesus Christ. Whether you believe the Christmas story literally or in spirit, you know it is the story of joy, hope and love, the promise of redemption. So here, let us share the verse from the Bible, Luke 2: 4-19:
"So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.’
“When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’ So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart."
Happy Hanukkah, which lasts for eight days and this year began Tuesday evening. While Hanukkah is not one of the most important Jewish religious observances, it is a celebration that gets added attention from timing. Hanukkah celebrates the miracle of a one day supply of oil for the temple lasting eight days.
Editor’s Note about the Rest of 2014:
This is our last regular edition of 2014. Next week, after Christmas, we will publish the children’s edition, devoted entirely to the artwork and writing of local students. Our next regular editions will publish Jan. 7-8, 2015, with deadline for content and advertising of Jan. 2. In the meantime you can reach the editors at email@example.com and sales/marketing at firstname.lastname@example.org.