#1. Lights: I love the colorful lights that adorn this season. As they were growing up, my children hated the lights as much as I loved them. This reaction probably came because I forced my family to ride around town while I kept pointing and repeating excitedly, “Look, the lights.” Once, I even took them on a helicopter ride to see the lights.

A place with a gazillion lights doesn’t always impress me, though. What moves me more is a small house where the only visible light is a small star atop a Christmas tree. The lights remind me that Jesus is the light of the world. And for a fleeting moment, it seems as though the world . . . gets it.

#2. Music: I’ve been playing Christmas music since mid-October. For the past two weeks, I’ve listened to Handel’s “Messiah” again and again. At this time of year, the whole world becomes one huge choir. Even the mall rings with the sounds of Christmas. As you travel from store to store, it seems as though the world is tuned to His channel.

I also love church Christmas programs, whether it’s a large church with a Living Christmas Tree the size of Montana or a small church with children dressed up as Mary, Joseph, angels, goats and wildebeests. (I’m not actually sure what some of these children’s costumes are supposed to be, but wildebeest is my best guess.) All this music reminds me of the day when we’ll stand before the throne and sing “Worthy is the Lamb.”

#3. Spirit: I love the spirit of Christmas, a spirit of selflessness. Families who have never given a thought to the less fortunate now buy an extra present to put under the Angel Tree at the local mall so a child who has nothing will have . . . something. Today, I saw a man whose appearance told me he was not a man of means. But he stood beside a red kettle, bell in hand, collecting money for others. Joy shone from his face as he wished every passerby a hearty “Merry Christmas.” I couldn’t help but remember, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these . . . you did for Me” (Matt. 25:40).

#4. Family Togetherness: I love nothing more than to see my children’s vehicles pulling into our driveway. After they call to let us know they are 10 minutes away, neither Cathy nor I strays far from the front door. We want to keep an eye out because we know they soon will arrive. Whichever one of us spies them first yells, “They’re here, they’re here!” and we run outside in our stocking feet to greet them. The Christmas season also reminds me to keep an eye out. One day soon, another special guest will return, and His family will be together once again.

#5. Rest: On Christmas, the world stops and celebrates its own Sabbath. On that one day, malls close, stores shut down and the world comes to rest. For a brief moment, we don’t concentrate on how many phone calls to make or e-mails to return. We walk away from the cares of the world and enjoy family, friends and life. It reminds me of the rest found in a relationship with our Savior.

#6. Memories: I love Christmas memories. Ask people to share a Christmas memory and they have a hard time narrowing it down to one. I could tell you about the time I was stuck in Peoria, Ill., and a family gave me one of the most incredible Christmases I’ve ever had. Or I could share many blessed memories of our children squealing with glee as they opened the one present that “I’ve wanted my whole life.” That reminds me of another special memory of a King who left his lofty height to come and walk on Earth. A Savior who dwelt among us became the present of a lifetime.

#7: Thank You: Christmas is the one time of year I can say “Thank you” to everyone: the delivery driver who has the paper waiting each morning when I get up and the postman who faithfully delivers our junk mail through the rain, sleet, snow and summer heat. Finally, I can tell all of my Baptist Messenger readers how grateful I am for you. I appreciate you because you give me an opportunity to minister through the written word. Many of you have moved from readers to prayer partners, encouragers, friends and . . . family. I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas.

And don’t worry. I’ll make sure to call 10 minutes before I arrive at your home.

Walker Moore is president of AweStar Ministries in Tulsa, P.O. Box 470265, Tulsa 74147, e-mail walker@awestar.org, phone 800/AWESTAR (293-7827.