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Wednesday, December 26 2001

The feast

The traditional feast of Christmas lasts 12 days, beginning—not ending as our materialistic culture wants us to think—on December 25. Though I once wrote a formal objection to a news medium's describing Christmas as a "feast" (convinced the term as used religiously had no meaning in the Protestant way of thinking I wanted to represent), I've reversed that attitude.

Even Baptists, as I was then, celebrate birthdays as times to honor the birthday "boy" or "girl" with special food and beverages, by definition, a feast. Even when I wore that hat, I celebrated Christmas mainly as a birthday; one of my favorite carols, which I first heard at a contata given at Vintondale's First Baptist Church, being "The Birthday of a King."

Always, we celebrated Christmas with relatively expensive and exotic food: tangerines and perfect oranges in our stockings, about two weeks' worth of all-we-could-eat candy, cookies of various kinds, nuts, a special banquet on December 25. Though there was no formal fast preceding our feast, nevertheless we feasted just the same.

I've always thought intuitively that a single day was inadequate for Christmas celebration, and for that reason liked the idea of the "Twelve Days of Christmas" in the song, though I knew nothing about its historical roots. And by default even we Baptists feasted for at least 12 days for Christmas, though we didn't multiply gift giving as the song suggests.

In this spirit, the invitation to send your memories of Christmases related to Blacklick Valley stays open, for at least 11 more days.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Attitude

Somebody said that there are only two kinds of people in the world, there are those who wake up in the morning and say, "Good morning, Lord," and there are those who wake up in the morning and say,"Good Lord, it's morning."

—Sent by Sallie Covolo

Inasmuch

Ruth had been so absorbed in her dinner plans, she hadn't even noticed two figures huddled in the alleyway, a man and a woman, both of them dressed in little more than rags. "Look, lady, I ain't got a job, ya know, and my wife and I have been living out here on the street, and, well, now it's getting cold and we're getting kinda hungry and, well, if you could help us, lady, we'd really appreciate it."

Ruth looked at them both. They were dirty, they smelled bad, and frankly, she was certain that they could get some kind of work if they really wanted to. "Sir, I'd like to help you, but I'm a poor woman myself. All I have is a few cold cuts and some bread, and I'm having an important guest for dinner tonight and I was planning on serving that to Him."

"Yeah, well, okay lady, I understand. Thanks anyway." The man put his arm around the woman's shoulders, turned, and he headed back into the alley. As she watched them leave, Ruth felt a familiar twinge in her heart. "Sir, wait!"

The couple stopped and turned as she ran down the alley after them. "Look, why don't you take this food. I'll figure out something else to serve my guest." She handed the man her grocery bag. "Thank you, lady. Thank you very much!" "Yes, thank you!" It was the man's wife, and Ruth could see now shivering.

"You know, I've got another coat at home. Here, why don't you take this one." Ruth unbuttoned her jacket and slipped it over the woman's shoulders. Then, smiling, she turned and walked back to the street...without her coat and with nothing to serve her guest.

"Thank you lady! Thank you very much!" Ruth was chilled by the time she reached her front door, and worried, too. The Lord was coming to visit and she didn't have anything to offer Him. She fumbled through her purse for the door key. But as she did, she noticed the mail had come twice in one day. She took the envelope out of the box and opened it.

"Dear Ruth, It was so good to see you again. Thank you for the lovely meal. And thank you, too, for the beautiful coat. Love Always, Jesus"

The air was still cold, but even without her coat, Ruth no longer noticed.

—Sent by Bob Kennedy

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