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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas stories’

If you give a mom your credit card 3 days before Christmas and tell her to treat herself, she might go shopping.

If she goes shopping, she might find a shirt she likes on the clearance rack.

If she finds a shirt she likes, she might buy it.

If she buys it, she might give it back to you, with the credit card and a suggestion that it would be nice if it were wrapped.

If it’s wrapped, it might go under the Christmas tree.

If it goes under the Christmas tree, she’ll probably open it.

If she opens it and Christmas Day is a  Sunday, she might wear it to church.

If she wears her new shirt to church, she will probably feel happy that she’s wearing her new Christmas present, she likes it, and it fits.

If she feels happy she’s wearing it, she will most likely keep wearing it after church for Christmas dinner.

If she’s still wearing it while she preps Christmas dinner, her husband might notice a problem.

If he notices a problem and says so, she may ask what it is.

If she asks what it is, he could tell her there is still a sticker on the shirt.

If he tells her there is still a sticker on the shirt, she could look down to see it.

If she looks down to see it, she could gasp in dismay.

When she gasps in dismay, she most definitely will yank the sticker off the shirt. A small, round sticker. On the left side of the shirt. She just wore to church in front of God and everybody.

After she yanks off the sticker, she may think but will not say that her Christmas treat ended up being a booby prize.

If she thinks it’s a booby prize, she still will not say whether it was small, medium, large, or extra large.

Though she will not say the size, she will say laughter is always a Christmas treat.

Tis the season!

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On August 11, 2001, our home and business burned. A month later, September 11 attacks changed our world.  We returned to our rebuilt home just before Thanksgiving and continued to rebuild our lives that Christmas season. 

I wanted somehow to show our kids, ages 5 and 7, that in times of great loss, we celebrate new beginnings and hope for the future  – and to inspire and encourage neighbors on our quiet, urban street. Thus began Operation Christmas Lights.

That December, a friend and I collected milk jugs and asked our friends to help.  We collected over 50 jugs, made Chinese lanterns of them with votive candles and kitty litter, and attached a Christmas card to each milk jug handle.  It  took us days to complete.

On the afternoon of Christmas Eve, our families worked up two city blocks, placing a lantern in front of each home.  I was nervous placing candles in front of some of our neighbors’ homes; sometimes inner city neighbors are volatile.  It was growing dark, the wind began to whip, and we hurried to light the candles before our family went to Christmas Eve services.  I couldn’t be late because the kids were singing before the service, and I was “volunteered” to direct them!

A light dusting of snow began to fall while we were in the service.  When we returned home, the white snow dusted the street and sidewalks and reflected off the dark night sky.   There was a unique calm and silence on our street.  In front of each house, reflecting against the snow, were our recycled milk jug Christmas lights.  They lit the path to our newly rebuilt home. 

The neighbor I most paused at leaving a light in front of had rearranged the milk jugs so there were three lights in front of her home.  Even they caught the Christmas spirit that evening.

My prayer now, as my kids are teens, is that they remember to share the light they have with others, especially in bad times. And they know no matter how bad things are, there will always be a path of lights leading them home for Christmas.

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Christmas is hard when we have lost those we love.

 During the Civil War, a husband struggled with the loss of his wife.  His first wife died when he was young, and he mourned seven years. 

Then he married again.  They were a happy family, rejoicing in their five children.  His youngest three daughters filled their home with laughter: grave Alice, and laughing Allegra, and Edith with golden hair. 

 One hot spring day, while her husband slept in the next room, his wife trimmed Edith’s hair.  The golden curls were so pretty she decided to save one lock as a keepsake.  She used sealing wax to hold the lock of hair into place when tragedy struck.

A spring wind breezed through the room. Her dress burst into flames.  Either the sealing wax spilled onto her dress or the match did.  Her first instinct was to protect her daughters.  So she ran screaming, a tower of flames, into her husband’s study next door.  He awakened and tried to save her. 

First, he covered her with a rug to smother the flames.  The rug was too small.  Still, she burned.  He threw his arms around her and put out the final flames with his own body.

She died of burns the next morning.  He was so badly injured that he could not attend her funeral.  His face was so burned that he was never able to shave again and wore a beard the rest of his life.

Her horrific death happened near the beginning of the Civil War. Then his firstborn son, 19, returned from the war, critically injured.  Christmas was the hardest.  He could not celebrate.  The man asked his friends, “Where is peace?”

God gave him solace to his grief on Christmas Day, 1863, as the morning church bells rang. 

The mourning husband, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, wrote a poem that would become the carol, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.”

I heard the bells on Christmas Day

Their old familiar carols play,

And wild and sweet

The words repeat

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,

The belfries of all Christendom

Had rolled along

The unbroken song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way,

The world revolved from night to day,

A voice, a chime

A chant sublime

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black accursed mouth

The cannon thundered in the South,

And with the sound

The carols drowned

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent

 The hearth-stones of a continent,

And made forlorn

The households born

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;

“There is no peace on earth,” I said;

“For hate is strong,

And mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:

“God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!

The Wrong shall fail,

The Right prevail,

With peace on earth, good-will to men!”

 I hope you hear the bells this Christmas Day! 

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