Advent series on charisma, saints and angels
Christmas articles by David Caldwell:
1: Hardrock, Coco and Joe (includes film); 2:
to Tell Children about Santa, by Mary Ann Losiewcz
TO TELL CHILDREN ABOUT SANTA?
funny how the topic of Santa is one that a lot of parents wonder about. I know
I believed in Santa while I was growing up, and yet I also knew that Christmas
was a very special day as it was Jesus' birthday. Maybe to me, in my child's mind
then, it was how I associated the two. I thought that Santa Claus (or St. Nicholas)
gave out presents to the good children the way the three Magi gave out gifts to
Jesus. And the funny thing is, I guess that's the way I explained it to my children
when they were growing up.
were old enough to understand, they asked me if there was a Santa. I did the same
thing that David did
with his foster kids. I told them that while the "person" of Santa was not real,
the "spirit" or essence of Santa should live in all of us, not only at Christmas,
but all through the year. I tried to instill in them that Christmas is special
as a time of remembrance, but that the more important thing to remember is how
generous our Savior was. Not only did God give us the "special gift" of His Son,
but the Son gave us all the gift of His life so that we can all live. Santa gave
out gifts to all children, and we should do the same. God has given us all special
gifts in life, whether we are teachers, parents, writers, coalminers, office workers,
doctors, whatever. All He asks is that we share those gifts with others.
even told my children that God wants us to live Christmas every day, and to always
give to those who are not as fortunate as we are. While we may not have a lot
monetarily, we have so much in the way of faith and love. God wants us to share
that with those lives that we touch. Every year, our Church has a "giving tree"
which is a Christmas tree on which are hung "ornament tags" of those less fortunate.
Every year, the tree stays the same size, while the number of tags keeps increasing.
What I have noticed is that by a week before the items are due back at the Church,
no matter how many tags were on the tree, there are none left by that time. And
the following week, the entire Narthex of the Church is full. We even had a visiting
priest ask the congregation this year if we were planning on taking up a special
collection to increase the size of the Narthex to allow for all the gifts.
that is how I've come to see Santa in Christmas as an adult, while knowing the
specialness of the Day because it's Christ's birth. In this day and age of uncertainty
and so much hate in the world, I want to keep the image of Christ and Christmas
and the generosity of Santa in my mind. I teach CCD (religious ed) for the parish,
and every year at this time, we go over the season of Advent and Christmas and
what is special about them. I try to bring together to the kids the true spirit
of Christmas, in the generosity of Jesus. We even go so far as to discuss St Nicholas
(who's Feast Day is in December) and Santa Claus (although the children I teach
are seventh graders and don't necessarily believe). I want them to feel the true
meaning of Christmas and how special it is.
this note is a bit rambling, but I just wanted to say how much it moved me to
And to tie it in to the past
topic, I wanted to mention that every year, I give my students a gift at Christmas.
It isn't something huge or extravagant. But I do give them all an angel for Christmas.
Last year, I gave them all angel ornaments for their trees. This year, I was able
to find enough angel pins the same to give them each an angel pin to wear all
the time. I want them to know that God is with them all the time and that He sends
His angels to watch over them and keep them safe. The pin is sort of a reminder
that they always have a Guardian Angel from God with them, just like the Angels
that appeared 2000 years ago to the Shepherds in the fields.
lastly, while Santa isn't supposed to come for adults, I think we all realize
that each and every one of us is blessed with some sort of gift this time of year.
I think it's even in proportion to the gifts we give out to others. As I mentioned
in this space before, some of you know that I attempt to write music. It's a hobby
of love of mine. And last year, I wrote a song for my Parish that the children
sang at their service on Christmas eve. They also sang it at St. Timothy and Mark's
Church (Twin Rocks) last year. Well, this year, God is giving me an even better
gift. My daughter was asked to do the song solo with the children's choir. All
the children from last year had been asking the director if they were going to
do the song again. He didn't mention anything to them. But this past week, he
called to ask Amanda to do it as a solo. We are all so proud of her and know she
will do well with it as a gift back to the Baby Jesus.
bless you all at this time of year and may each of you have a Blessed Christmas
and a Joyous and Better New Year than you have had in the past.
in Blacklick Valley—2001
Christmas memoirs by David Caldwell:
1: CHRISTMAS; 2:
A WHITE CHRISTMAS MEMORY
GLO GRANDCHILDREN AT
NATIONAL CHRISTMAS TREE
CHRISTMAS MEMORIES, Judy Martin
THEN AND NOW, Judy Rose
STORY, Trudy (Rummel) Myers
'NANTY GLO GRANDCHILDREN' at National
Christmas Tree: Nanty Glo
native Frank Charney sent this picture of four of his grandchildren
taken December 27 at the National Christmas Tree in Washington, DC
on a bitter, cold night. They are the children of Kevin and Cathy
(Charney) Weldon, who were visiting their grandparents in Arlington,
Va., for the holidays. From left, they are Allison, 3; Danny, 2; Caitlin,
6; and Kevin, 5.
Update, December 27, 2012: below are
seen the same children ten years later, with their mother and grandparents.
From the left are seen Cathy; Allison; Rose; Kevin, Jr.; Caitlin;
Frank, and Danny.
I don't really have very many memories
from my childhood of Christmas. There were only two things that really
stuck out in my mind and the first one was when my mother sold the
punch cards to get me a doll for Christmas. It was when you sold the
circle and they got to punch out a number and see if you won the doll.
Also, the person selling it, if they sold the whole card, got the
same doll. It as a make up doll and I was so proud that year.
Every other year that I could remember
we got clothes because Dad was sickly and didn't work a lot so we
got what was needed most. Then when I met Jim and we got married in
November 1963 we had to start out with everything new. But the Lord
works His ways and that year was the year that his dear Aunt Nonie
Kovach was buying all new decorations and gave us all of her old ones.
At that time (38 years ago), these ornaments were 17 years old. I
still have some of them (as through the years and five kids some have
gotten broken) but since they are glass and very easily broken, I
usually only put one or two on the tree now in order to save them
as long as I can. They are very precious to me because I can't ever
remember at that time of anyone giving us anything that valuable,
with so many memories for them. It seemed to me the best Christmas,
even though it was our first in our married life.
There were rough times and good times
in the 38 years, but I remember one particular year where we didn't
have much but still tought the boys to give rather than receive. They
had only one gift from Santa and not a word was said by them. I was
the one who cried because they had accepted things as they were and
didn't ask if that was all. That particular year, when we went home
to my parents' for the holidays there were two big boxes of presents
for the boys. They thought they were in seventh heaven (excuse the
pun, since we are known as the 7j's).
It seems that my sister worked at
the bank and one lady asked her if she knew where there was any Goodwill
places to give these three boxes of toys to because her children had
so many and were getting more for Christmas. Well, my sister took
them and gave the one box to my older brother who had 4 children and
the others to us. She and my mother sat and wrapped all these things
and when we arrived gave them to the kids. They had never seen so
many toys in their whole life. I do not believe in giving a lot of
toys anyway, but that year it seemed that the Lord knew what to do
and did it. He worked through others, as he usually does to make our
Christmas happy for the kids.
Now as I have only 11 real grandchildren,
two from a foster child and three others that we somewhat adopted
as their mother came to live with us when she was 20 and needed a
family to love her. Also my one son has a sister-in-law whose daughter
is always around, so we buy what we can for all of them. I started
when our first granddaughter was born, buying a silver dollar for
each so that when they grow up they will have 18 or 19 silver dollars
in a row and a collector would give them more for a collection than
one here and there. This was our way of helping in a small way to
help with college money. I sincerely hope the price of silver is up
when they need to cash them in for college money.
Also, we buy each an ornament every
year so that when they get married they will have that many to start
decorations for their own tree. Many ideas I have gotten from older
generations that I have met from the many times we have moved and
made new friends.
The Lord has blessed us with many
new friends over the past 38 years and we really treasure them. I
remember as a child singing, "Make new friends but keep the old, one
is silver and the other gold.".I thank the Lord today for the many
friends and relatives that He has given me in all the years since
I gave my heart to Him.
I wanted to put this on the Nanty
Glo Christmas letters you asked for but couldn't figure it out since
I have never done it before. Maybe you can transfer it or whatever
you want to do.
Have a very Merry Christmas and a
Happy New Year and we love your column. I read it first thing every
morning before breakfast. May the Lord also bless you in the coming
Yours, Judy (Mrs. Jim)
As Christmas 2001 approaches, I'm
inclined to reflect somewhat on the Christmas of "then" and how it
differs from the Christmas of "now." Back then, as a child...a Christmas
wish may have been for a baby doll that walked and talked, a new sled
and snow on which to ride it. A new bike and no snow so you
could ride it. And as I got older, I wished for roller skates
with toe-stops that came in their own fancy case. A new Poodle Skirt,
an Angora Sweater. A record player to play those Pat Boone and Everly
Brothers 45's and on and on and on....
Those were the requests of youth...of
youth that had not a real care in or about the world. Back then so
long ago, every school, church, Post Office, court house, store, and
park had a Nativity Scene proudly displayed...and without fear of
repercussions from those who would later shout "Church vs State."
A trip with friends to the woods for
a hemlock to serve as a Christmas tree...little money was available
then to buy a pine, a fir, or a spruce,...so a hemlock would do, and
My Christmas list has changed along
with me...older and wiser now, I make adult wishes for steady employment
and good health for family and friends, a long and safe life for my
children and many grandchildren. I wish for my 86-year-old mother
to live another year, and most of all I wish for "Peace on Earth"
so my youngest child will not experience, firsthand, the horror of
war. The tree of Christmas now is stored in a box from year to year...it
always stands straight and the limbs and branches are full...much
grander than any hemlock, or is it?
I cling to the old, with cranberry
and popcorn garland strung from branch to branch, listening to "Jinglebell
Rock," Bing Crosby's "White Christmas," and so on, and I remember
how bittersweet and innocent it was "back then." And sometimes, if
we wish hard enough...a wish will come true. I got that walking, talking
baby doll...this past week at the daycare center she attends, my 20-month-old
grandaughter followed behind the visiting St. Nick saying, "Santa,
it's me, Lauren!" Oh!...and the Nativity? In our little village we
still have one, proudly displayed in our one and only government building.
We don't call it a Nativity or a manger, we don't say the words Christ
child or Virgin Mary....there are little statues of people and animals,
and we simply refer to them as "some of the local residents and their
Season's Greetings and may the Peace,
Love and Joy of Christmas be with you through the coming year.
A CHRISTMAS STORY
December 18th's Jonal
entry containing "presents" from the past and your two bells reminded
me of something from my childhood Christmases. As you know, I've written
about my life on the farm below Belsano where
I grew up, near the old Cowley farm. My Aunt Violet Paul and I would
make our annual pilgrimage to the very large and very dusty attic
to retrieve the big rectangular box that contained the ornaments for
often wondered what that box had contained before it was the ornament
box. Being so little myself, it was awesome to see such a large box.
That box was always special to me. The memory that I really want to
share, though, is the ornaments themselves. Naturally, they were the
old glass ornaments that most of us remember, but they were so unusual.
As I grew up and the ornaments in the stores changed to plastic, cartoon
characters and on and on, I forgot about those old glass ornaments
of my grandmother's. The ones with the unusual faces, and fruits,
It wasn't until a few years ago that
I began seeing those old glass ornaments in stores, in specialty shops
and on the Internet. The price tags on them needed a bank loan to
acquire. It suddenly dawned on me that these ornaments that originate
in Germany were probably the very same ornaments that my German grandmother
may have acquired from her mother or grandmother. Had I known then
what I know now, I may not be wealthy from the sale of these original
ornaments, but I'd be rich in memories to be able to take those beautiful
glass ornaments out each year to hang on my tree. A gift from the
past, a memory of Grandma, the unknown knowledge of where they came
from or how they were acquired.
I like to dream that they may have
been bought in a little shop in Germany by one of my ancestors who
brought them along when they traveled to this country to start a new
life; bringing a part of their ancestral life with them. I'll never
know now. The ornaments have been long gone for too many years, and
I'm sure the story is also long forgotten. Or perhaps, nobody cares
about it but me. That's ok too.
As an aside, I'll throw in one more
memory, that may remind some of the older readers to remember this.
Before all those fancy (expensive) sugar-coated cereals were invented,
some of us grew up on what was called "coffee soup." Anyone remember?
"Coffee soup" was made by crushing saltine crackers into a bowl and
pouring coffee (with milk) over top to soak the crackers (thus the
"soup"). Sugar coating was provided by pouring sugar (to taste) over
this concontion. It was warm, filling and gave you a jump-start for
early cold mornings (this was also known as cracker soup).
If you wanted variety, the alternative
to crackers was sliced homemade bread. Same recipe. I loved "coffee
soup" so much that one year under the Christms tree, I found that
Santa had left me two boxes of saltine crackers!
Merry Christmas all.
Trudy (Rummel) Myers