Christmas on the prairie alive and well 

Festive living room interior with Christmas tree near fireplace Christmas (Photo: iStock - Liudmila Chernetska)

Christmas is a time for many fond memories for families that reside in the High Plains region. 

Families use Christmas and the week that follows as a time to renew, visit and reminisce. Each family has a unique story to tell. 

The center of a High Plains prairie Christmas is the renewal of faith celebrated with the birth of Jesus Christ. Much has been written about the decline of attendance in churches and faith-based organizations but that misses the message. The story of the birth of Jesus Christ, in a manger with farm animals around Him, tells us much about a powerful connection God has with farm and ranch families and those who support them. 

As John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” 

Those of us who believe that scripture is the unerring word from God celebrate the birth of Christ because it helps to explain the unexplainable, to act when it seems senseless to act, to dream when it is difficult. 

During the Great Depression, countless farm families dressed up in their Sunday best to hear a preacher or priest offer a sermon about the importance of the birth of Christ. Over the years many children continue the tradition of telling the story with a Christmas with the classic songs of “Away in a Manger” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” 

On Dec. 24 and 25 churches will be the host for a renewal of the story of the birth of Christ—the greatest gift any of us could receive. 

The message of Christ’s birth and the importance of love and hope resonates on the High Plains. Farmers and ranchers and those who depend and work with them are coming off a difficult year whether it is a drought or losing someone they love; this story is one they can hang their hat on. 

To help remind us from Bible Gateway’s English Standard Version here is Luke Chapter 2 verses 4-15: 

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 guest room available for them. 

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 that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, 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 heaven, and on earth peace to those 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.” 

What faith those shepherds had and a story that comforts us today.

Dave Bergmeier can be reached at 620-227-1822 or [email protected]