Sen. Mike Cunningham’s Legislative Column for Dec. 14, 2018

Cunningham Updated Banner March 2017

Legislative Column for Dec. 14, 2018

The house is decorated in reds and greens, a tree is aglow with holiday lights, the smell of baked goods fills the kitchen and most of the packages are wrapped. All of these are sure signs that Christmas is near. It’s a joyous time of year as we gather with friends and family.

As we gaze upon the Santa sleighs, candy canes and inflatable snowmen that decorate so many yards, we also see a few traditional holiday symbols. There are shepherds, robed men kneeling before an infant child and an angel atop a tree. These things remind us of the true reason for the season.

With all the holiday sales, office parties and jingling bells, sometimes we forget that Dec. 25 is the day that Christians around the world celebrate the birth of Christ.

The story of the first Christmas is found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. A young Jewish couple, Joseph and his wife Mary, journeyed to Bethlehem to be counted in a nationwide census. There were so many people in town they could not find a place to stay. With nowhere else to turn, they set up camp in a cattle stall.

Mary was pregnant, but the child was not Joseph’s. Ordinarily, this would have been a bad situation, but this was no ordinary pregnancy. A messenger from God visited Mary and Joseph and assured them their child was the fulfillment of Hebrew prophecy. This child would be the Messiah their people had sought for centuries. The young couple had faith and they believed.

You wouldn’t think a young couple giving birth in a livestock barn would merit much attention, but the arrival of this child certainly did. Matthew says wise men traveled to Bethlehem from the east, guided by a star, to bring gifts to the baby Jesus. Luke says shepherds learned of the birth from an angel that appeared to them in the fields. The angel brought glad tidings. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

Not everyone who celebrates Christmas accepts this story, but the message of peace on earth and good will toward men seems to appeal to everyone. No matter what a person believes, these words provide comfort and cheer during the holidays.

You don’t have to be a Christian to enjoy Christmas, but I believe it’s important to remember that wise men and shepherds did not journey to Bethlehem to visit Santa’s workshop. They came to worship a child lying in a manger.

So, with that in mind, I wish each and every one of you a merry Christmas.

As always, I appreciate it when groups from around Missouri and from our community back home come to visit me at the Capitol. If you would like to arrange a time to come and visit me in Jefferson City, or if you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact my Capitol office at (573) 751-1882.