In the words of the late Dr. Ferguson Wood, former pastor of First Presbyterian Church in downtown Johnson City: "It is unfortunate that the real meaning of Christmas has, in so many cases, been obscured or relegated to the background.
"There is tragic incongruity in making the celebration of the birth of a child cradled in a manager, a time for lavish expenditure. It is a far cry from the simple circumstances into which He lived, to the ostentation and social competition which, in many instances, mark of observance of his birth.
"Christmas is a day of faith and hope and stands for the overflowing love of God as expressed in His unspeakable Gift. Any appropriate celebration of Christmas Day will emphasize this fact so strongly that it cannot be overlooked.
"No matter how simple the gift, it is blessed if tendered in the spirit of love and self-forgetfulness, the spirit of Christmas.
"The Wise Men gave valuable things, not because they were valuable, but because they were what they had, and they wanted to give their best. The shepherds had no gold, frankincense, or myrrh, but the message of peace and good will came to them and they gave themselves.
"In the last of his many Christmas messages, Henry Van Dyke wrote: "It is really more blessed to give than to receive. Love is the desire to bestow and to bless. Rejoice and share your joy.
"This is the universal Christmas message. If I could find simpler words for it, I would use them to speak to every heart.
"Forget your foes. Remember your friends. Be humble and grateful for small mercies. Be very kind to little children and old folks. Help the needy. Be of good cheer in love. Sing together the songs of hope and brotherhood.
"This seems to me the word of promise and courage- better than any of the political and economic panaceas that I have seen. Let us now love the star of Christmas.
"The good-will which finds expressions in gifts and in kindly acts for little children, the aged, the needy and unfortunate is similar in kind to that which God expresses toward us. In the present social and economic stress, an expression of good-will such as befits the Christmas season would be as a healing balm.
"Somehow the season itself awakens something in our hearts. It has the power to make even a Scrooge cry, a Merry Christmas to everyone, a Happy New Year to all the World, and a Tiny Tim to pray, God bless us everyone."
The Diamond Cab personal ad under "Christmas" is a Bible quote from Luke, Chapter 2, Verses 15-18." It concluded with the words: "With sincere good wishes that this Christmas may bring you such peace and joy as the shepherds found when our Savior was born."
Leach Motor Co. offered its Christmas greeting with songs from an animated choir.
Here's wishing my Yesteryear readers a most joyous Christmas and a meaningful 2018 New Year.
Reach Bob Cox at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.bcyesteryear.com.