Tuesday, 24 December 2019

The Best of Christmas

I just wanted to wish everyone a very wonderful Christmas with many blessings for the new year. In so doing, I am including three poems I wrote as a much younger person. I've never  been a poet, but my thoughts about our Savior and this very special time of year are tender. May God's choicest blessings be with each of you.

When I was a child, Christmas meant anticipation,
taking our pennies and dimes 
to Kresses or Woolworths
to buy simple, well thought-out presents.

We were poor, and the six of us children shared 
one basement bedroom and a couple of cots in the hall.
We didn’t know just how poor we really were until we 
went to church or school and saw what others wore.

We’d read the story of our Savior’s birth
from the book of Luke on Christmas Eve,
then opened one specific present,
homemade flannel pajamas from our parents.

We’d hurry off to bed, knowing we’d never sleep 
until we were sure Santa had made it there.
We’d creep up the stairs several times during the night
tiptoeing on the edges so they wouldn’t crackle and creak.

But we never saw if the jolly old elf had arrived.
An old Army blanket, suspended in the
living room doorway was too formidable an object 
to either push aside or crawl under.

At five in the morning, Daddy hurried out to the barn,
Mom called Grandma and Uncle Douglas, saying it was time.
We warmed ourselves by the old coal stove trying 
to keep our excitement down so we wouldn’t explode.

When the time came to take down the magical barrier,
we kids would rush to find our pile of presents.
There was never much there, for money was not:
a doll, a book, plastic animals for the boys.

A new pair of shoes and a homemade dress or shirt, 
an orange, peanuts and hard candy for our stockings.
They were simple holidays, but happy ones.
Dad played with us and Mom fixed the traditional meal.

After Daddy died, leaving seven little children alone,
the real joy of the Christmas season was gone.
We still got gifts and kept the blanket in front of the door,
and Grandma and Uncle Douglas came to spend the day.

But Daddy wasn’t there to make the holiday special, 
to play with us or to hold us tight in his protective arms.
The hole in our family was so immense we went through
motions but were never really happy and smiling again.

That was also the time when the real meaning of Christmas 
made more sense for death is part of life just as birth is.
Christ walked the earth, by example showing the way,
atoning for sins, dying so we can be a complete family again.

I have seen many Christmas’ since I was a child but 
none have been more meaningful than those of early days,
except for the Christmas’ I shared with my own children
when they were young and starry-eyed and still believed.

I played the magical elf, and my son and daughter 
climbed the stairs to see if Santa had been there.
There were more gifts purchased from stores those days,
but homemade ones still played a part along with a tradition meal.

They were happy times, but life moves on, children grow, 
have children of their own, and our part in the celebration changes.
But the meaning for the day is always crystal clear, and Christ’s gift
is the only one that cannot be purchased except by complete devotion.

                                             *******************

In this world of modern marvels,
one seldom takes time to think
of the creator of both heaven and earth,
Jesus Christ, the Savior of all mankind.

But who is this man?

A babe,
born in a stable in the village of Bethlehem. 
A boy,
reared as a carpenter in Nazareth. 
A citizen,
of a conquered and subdued nation. 
A man,
whose mortal footsteps never went beyond a 150 mile radius. 
A scholar,
who never received a school degree. 
A preacher,
who never spoke from a great pulpit.
A citizen,
who never owned a home.
A traveler,
who moved about on foot, without money. 

He is Jesus Christ,
author of our salvation.

His life, brought light and understanding
of things eternal and divine. 

His teachings, influenced the behavior 
of unaccounted millions.

His matchless example became the greatest power 
for goodness and peace in all the world.

                                                  ***********************


Grandpa’s Christmas Letter

I am not yearning for a white Christmas
as well you may have guessed.
The white stuff that so delights you
can stay in the mountains in drifts.

Christmas, as other holiday, is just another day.
My parents who were not into gift exchange,
but giving more to the needy than anyone else in the valley,
being liberal with us when they sensed the need.

I understand their viewpoint now that I am older.
Too much money is wasted on throwaway gift giving.
So, granddaughter dear, do not send me things
I do not need or have any particular desire for.

The things people need more of 
in this country of ours are
worthy compliments,
appreciation, and just plain love.

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