President Jim J. Adams | December 18, 2017

Among the many wonderful reasons to celebrate Christmas, I was reminded this season of a reason that took me back to our neighborhood when I was 12 years old.

By: Jim J. Adams, Ed.D., LPC President

Perhaps you grew up with a neighborhood bully like the red-headed, freckle-faced thug in the movie classic, A Christmas Story. I sure did. In fact, our neighborhood bully looked like he had just stepped out of Central Casting on a Hollywood movie lot – he bore the same physical characteristics of that now famous child-villain.

When I was 12, the town bully decided to make a real statement about dominating the Christmas season. One by one, houses around ours began to go dark for no explainable reason. That’s right, someone was stealing a single light bulb from the strands of outdoor lights on neighborhood homes. Back in the day, if you removed one bulb, the entire string of lights went dark. 

Nearly everyone had a hunch that he was behind the darkening of our otherwise festive Christmas displays, but we were hard pressed to catch him in the act.

Enter my dad, a machinist, who had his own mischievous side. A dab of an industry dye on a few Christmas lights did the trick. The chemical helped machinists mark the metal on aircraft, oh, and it stained human skin with telltale blue ink for weeks after application.

Much like the mark of sin on a person’s life, the machinist’s blue dye identified the culprit but also revealed the need for forgiveness and redemption.

My dad answered the door soon after our outdoor lights stopped working and found the neighborhood bully and his dad sheepishly standing on our porch. “My boy has something to say to you, Mr. Adams,” the man said.

I reminded our students to look around them and to celebrate everything they can find that makes this a season of rejoicing. Then, I reminded them that every believer has a shared reason to celebrate redemption at Christmas, the removal of the stain of sin that has been replaced by the hope of eternal life in Christ.​

After what appeared to be a sincere apology from the bully, and a commitment from him to cease his covert operations at Christmas, the boy’s father broached a different concern. “How in the world do we get this dye off of his skin?” He wasn’t mad, just curious. Maybe he didn’t want his boy to be permanently marked because of his crime against our neighborhood.

A baby was born in Bethlehem millennia ago to become man, to identify with our plight as humans, and to become our redeemer. Christmas is about God’s grace being delivered in very personal form to each one of us who are each marked with a unique stain of sin. Thank God, He forgives. Thank God he offers a way to forever remove the machinist’s blue dye and to end the torment in our own souls. 

Thank God, He forgives. Thank God he offers a way to forever remove the machinist’s blue dye and to end the torment in our own souls. 

As I reflected on my childhood Christmas memory with our students during a recent chapel service, the Lord led me to encourage them to rejoice this Christmas season. The semester is over, finals are in the books, and our Life Pacific community will now take a well-deserved break.

I reminded our students to look around them and to celebrate everything they can find that makes this a season of rejoicing. Then, I reminded them that every believer has a shared reason to celebrate redemption at Christmas, the removal of the stain of sin that has been replaced by the hope of eternal life in Christ.

“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”