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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Sunday, December 23 2001

Christmas

From my earliest remembrances, Christmas was always a very special, even magical, time in our family. All of us participated in church plays and pageants. And, of course, Christmas Day began early and was filled with anxious anticipation. My father was always central to the day. He never let us forget the true meaning of Christmas, not by preaching but by his daily life. He always read the Christmas story to us directly from the Bible. If, on Christmas Day, we didn't awaken early enough for him, he would make noise to awaken us by playing with one of the toys he had purchased as a gift.

Dad never wrapped gifts. If there was a play piano, Dad was right down on the floor experimenting with it along with us kids. The year he purchased me an electric train, Dad was as excited as I to put the tracks together and watch the engine and cars go round the circle. When my sisters married and brought home their children, the magic and excitement of Christmas increased. Even after age and a broken hip limited his mobility, he enjoyed buying the grandchildren toys and getting down to play with them on the floor.

Then after Dad died in 1974, much of the magic and excitement of Christmas, for me, was gone. I believed sincerely in God's gift of His Son for our salvation but still Christmas just wasn't the same. I continued to participate in church activities and I still had a loving family around me. Then in 1982, I met the girl who would become my wife and Christmas became magical and exciting again.

Like my dad, Pat enjoys giving and making others happy. It wasn't until several Christmas's later that I began to see the similarities between my dad and Pat. Neither of them made a big deal about the concept of it being more blessed to give than to receive. It was a daily part of their lives. Dad left few worldly possessions when he died because he gave what he had to anyone who had a need but the legacy of love and giving he passed on will ! live for many generations.

I know the same will be true of Pat. Like my father, she is a loving; giving person whose greatest pleasure is bringing happiness to others.

 

You know Dasher, and Dancer, and...

As a five-year-old looked at the Christmas stickers on the window of her home, she called out each reindeer's name, but then stopped and asked her mother, "But where is Olive?"

Her mother didn't understand. "What do you mean, Sweetie?" she asked.

"You know, Mommy, Olive the other reindeer!"

—A true story from Brenda Blair
Sent by Bud Macfarlane, Catholicity

Advent thought for the day

The Christmas invitation

It was the biggest night of the year in a little town called Cornwall. It was the night of the annual Christmas pageant. Since there are no nearby malls or cities to compete with, the pageant is packed out every year. It's an especially big deal for the children in town. They get to try out for the roles in the Christmas story, and everybody wants a part.

Which leads us to the problem of Harold. Harold really wanted to be in the play, too, but he was...well, he was kind of a slow and simple kid. The directors were ambivalent, They knew Harold would be crushed if he didn't have a part, but they were afraid he might mess up the town's magic moment. Finally, they decided to cast Harold as the innkeeper who turns Mary and Joseph away the night Jesus is to be born. He had only one line: "I'm sorry, we have no room." No one could imagine what that one line was going to do to everyone's Christmas.

The night of the pageant, the church was packed, as usual. The set was in place; it was an entire wall with scenes of Bethlehem painted on it, including the door of the inn where Harold would greet and then turn away the young Jewish travelers. Backstage, the angels were playing frisbee with their halos, the shepherds were waiting till the last minute to put on their annually laundered bathrobes, and Harold was being personally coached by the nervous directors. "Now remember, Harold, when Joseph says, 'Do you have a room for the night?' you say.. you say...?"

Hesitantly, Harold said, "I'm sorry. We have no room." The directors looked at each other sort of hopefully. They'd done all they could.

The Christmas story unfolded according to plan—angels singing, Joseph's dream,...you know, the trip to Bethlehem. Finally, Joseph and Mary arrived at the door of the Bethlehem Inn, looking appropriately tired, discussing whether the baby might come tonight. Joseph knocked on the inn door.

Backstage, the directors were just out of sight, coaching Harold to open the door now. And wouldn't you know it, the door was stuck! The whole set shook; Harold tried to get that door open. When he finally did, Joseph asked his question on cue: "Do you have a room for the night?" Harold froze. From backstage, a loud whisper: "I'm sorry. We have no room." And Harold mumbled, "I'm sorry. We have no room." And, with a little coaching, he shut the door.

The directors heaved a sigh of relief—prematurely. As Mary and Joseph disappeared into the night, the set suddenly started shaking again, and the door opened. Harold was back! And then, in an unrehearsed moment that folks would not soon forget, Harold went running after the young couple, shouting as loud as he could, "Wait! Wait! You can have my room!"

— Ron Hutchcraft (adapted)
Sent by Jim Martin

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