A Christmas Piece: 'Dear Virginia . . .'
By: Rubel Shelly

Dear Virginia,

There are many things you are discovering as you grow up. One of them has to do with all the fantasies we adults have invented for your entertainment. Bugs Bunny is on TV every Saturday morning. The Easter Bunny brings chocolate eggs in colored foil in the spring. Frosty the Snowman comes to life and plays with children. And Santa Claus comes down the chimney on Christmas Eve to bring your presents.

We mean no harm with our tales. Sometimes, though, we may go overboard and try to convince you they are more than imaginary. We blur the line for you between “pretend” and “real.” Talking bunnies, snowmen coming to life, Santa coming down the chimney – these are fun characters like Buzz Lightyear, Mike and Sulley, or Mickey Mouse. They’re not the same as your Mommy, Uncle Bobby, or me.

What bothers me right now, Virginia, is the thought that what most of us call The Christmas Story might be caught up in your little mind with all the other make-believe things you are coming to recognize as only imaginary. I would hate for you to push Baby Jesus out of your world along with Buzz Lightyear, the Easter Bunny, Frosty, and Santa. The story of Jesus is very different. It is true.

We don't know the exact date of his birth. December 25 was chosen centuries ago when some Christians wanted to turn a festival to the sun into a holy day to Jesus. It's as good as any other day we might choose, and I doubt Jesus would be upset with anyone for honoring his birth on any day of the year.

It happened almost 2,000 years ago. In a little town called Bethlehem, Joseph and Mary heard the first cries of a tiny baby. He was more than “precious” or “special.” He was the Son of God. Angels and shepherds worshiped him that night. Eventually people like Anna, Simeon, and the Wise Men paid their homage too. Millions of us worship him still.

I want you to understand why Baby Jesus was born, Virginia. He came to show us how much God loves us and that he wants us to live with him in heaven someday.

Jesus grew up and became a man who loved everyone, helped all who would accept his help, and changed people’s lives. He was God among us, and I want you to believe on him and make him the center of your whole life.

This isn’t just another make-believe story. It really happened. Yes, Virginia, there really is a Baby Jesus!

Your friend,
Rubel Shelly