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Glasses versus contacts. The Sooners or the Cowboys. Coke versus Pepsi. Some debates bring out stronger feelings than you might think.

I was reminded of one of those ongoing debates recently. Which is better? Real Christmas trees or artificial ones?

Growing up, our family had artificial trees. They are overall more inexpensive (especially when the cost is divided over several years). They are less mess, and in today’s market, you can get almost any style you want, lights and all.

These days, my family uses real Christmas trees. They look and smell great and are the real deal. You even get to experience of the thrill (but also the cost) of tree shopping each year. Some people I know even cut their own tree down.

Whether you prefer real or artificial trees, there is one thing that we all need to remember that is definitely real at Christmas. It’s the Christmas story itself, as told in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.

I recently heard a preacher point out that the biblical narratives don’t begin with “Once upon a time…”

Instead, it begins with “In the time of Herod king of Judea there was…” (Luke 1:5), which proves the writer is rooting the narrative in history. In Christmas, as with all of Christianity, we have a faith that’s rooted in history and grounded in reality.

And that kind of authentic quality is the best of both worlds and the best kind of gift to remember at Christmas.