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
CHRISTMAS STORY, Trudy (Rummel) Myers
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.
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.
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
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).
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
THEN AND NOW
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....
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."
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 nicely, too!
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?
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 pets."
and may the Peace, Love and Joy of Christmas be with you through the coming year.
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 the tree.
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, etc.
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.
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).
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!