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Reason for the season

Local ministers emphasize that the true meaning of Christmas is about the greatest gift of all — God’s gift of his son to redeem mankind.

Dr. Fred Karthaus, pastor of First Baptist Church in Andalusia, said that God’s gift is especially noteworthy in these tough economic times.

“Christ-mas is all about the gift that God gave us in his son Jesus,” Karthaus said. “It’s a gift that expressed God’s love and care and provision for us. Christmas takes on even more meaning, because it reminds us that even though our financial position may have changed in this economy, God still provides for us and keeps his promises.”

The Rev. Tim Trent, pastor of First United Methodist Church in Andalusia, said another wonderful gift that can be given at Christmas is the gift of one’s self to others.

“I think that (this tough economy) enables us to get back to the true meaning of Christmas,” he said. “The best gift that any of us can give to another is the gift of ourselves. I think it may actually do us some good, as adults, to go through these tough economic times because it allows for us to get back to seeing what is truly important.”

Karthaus added that fellowship also plays a large role in the celebration of the holiday, whether it is by spending time with members of one’s family, or just time with close friends.

“The fellowship aspect of Christmas has been there from the very beginning,” Karthaus said. “The shepherds came, the angels came, the wise men all came to be a part of the fellowship with the Christ child. God desired fellowship with mankind by sending his son to be our Savior.

“Gathering together with family and friends is just an extension of that fellowship we have with God.”

The Rev. Anthony Bullukattu, parish priest of Christ the King Catholic Church, said that Christmas is also a symbol of sacrifice.

“Christmas was an occasion for God to empty himself,” Bullukatu said. “God became man and gave of himself, so that is telling us that we should also give of ourselves for others. It is a celebration of hope and joy; we are happy and hopeful that God is with us, and sent his son to redeem us.”