11 December 2016

posted 8 Dec 2016, 22:03 by C S Paul
Christmas Special
animated Christmas tree with lights

11 December 2016

Thoughts for Christmas

  • It amazes me that something that happened over 2000 years ago is still recognized today. The birth of Jesus Christ - the reason for Christmas. May we always be inspired and may we always recognize that this miracle is the reason for our celebrations. - Catherine Pulsifer    
  • "After all, isn't Christmas the beginning of our hope? It is the celebration of God becoming man and taking on the 'form of a servant' so that he could ultimately give His life for us." - Dr. David Jeremiah   
  • "The angels' visit to the shepherds became the first Christmas celebration. It's as though heaven and earth were celebrating it together, as though a portal to glory had been opened up." - Greg Laurie    
  • "We need to celebrate this Christmas. Jesus' birth was - and is - good news of great joy." - Rick Warren   
  • "We can participate in every festivity of the Christmas season, but until we receive the gift of Jesus Christ, we will never truly experience Christmas." -  Mary Southerland  
  • "This season, keep your eyes and heart open for unexpected ways that God will reveal to you the hope of Christmas." - Jack Countryman    
  • "Wonderful counselor and heaven father, guide us to see the true meaning of the gifts we have and that we share this Christmas." - D. Duane Engler
  • "Christmas is for everyone, adults and children alike. Allow this season fill your heart, and let go of the things you dislike." - Julie Hebert    
  • Thanksgiving, at least in the U.S., leads directly to the Christmas holiday where gifts are given to friends and family as an expression of heartfelt love and appreciation. - Devin D. Thorpe,
  • So during this Christmas season, let us take comfort in Him--and always. - Julia Audrina Carrington

sXmas_santahat_100-101 LITTLE PICCOLA
 - Unknown -

Piccola lived in Italy, where the oranges grow, and where all the year the sun shines warm and
bright. I suppose you think Piccola a very strange name for a little girl; but in her country it was not strange at all, and her mother thought it the sweetest name a little girl ever had.
Piccola had no kind father, no big brother or sister, and no sweet baby to play with and love. 

She and her mother lived all alone in an old stone house that looked on a dark, narrow street. They were very poor, and the mother was away from home almost every day, washing clothes and scrubbing floors, and working hard to earn money for her little girl and herself. So you see
Piccola was alone a great deal of the time; and if she had not been a very happy, contented little child, I hardly know what she would have done. She had no playthings except a heap of stones in the back yard that she used for building houses and a very old, very ragged doll that her mother had found in the street one day.

But there was a small round hole in the stone wall at the back of her yard, and her greatest
pleasure was to look through that into her neighbor's garden. When she stood on a stone, and put her eyes close to the hole, she could see the green grass in the garden, and smell the sweet
flowers, and even hear the water splashing into the[Pg 42]fountain. She had never seen anyone
walking in the garden, for it belonged to an old gentleman who did not care about grass and
flowers.

One day in the autumn her mother told her that the old gentleman had gone away, and had rented his house to a family of little American children, who had come with their sick mother to spend the winter in Italy. After this, Piccola was never lonely, for all day long the children ran and played and danced and sang in the garden. It was several weeks before they saw her at all, and I am not sure they ever would have done so but one day the kitten ran away, and in chasing her they came close to the wall and saw Piccola's black eyes looking through the hole in the stones.

They were a little frightened at first, and did not speak to her; but the next day she was there
again, and Rose, the oldest girl, went up to the wall and talked to her a little while. When the
children found that she had no one to play with and was very lonely, they talked to her every
day, and often brought her fruits and candies, and passed them through the hole in the wall.
One day they even pushed the kitten through; but the hole was hardly large enough for her, and she mewed and scratched and was very much frightened. After that the little boy said he would ask his father if the hole might not be made larger, and then Piccola could come in and play with them. The father had found out that Piccola's mother was a good woman, and that the little girl herself was sweet and kind, so that he was very glad to have some of the stones broken away and an opening made for Piccola to come in.

How excited she was, and how glad the children were when she first stepped into the
garden! She wore her best dress, a long, bright-colored woolen skirt and a white waist. Round
her neck was a string of beads, and on her feet were little wooden shoes. It would seem very
strange to us—would it not?—to wear wooden shoes; but Piccola and her mother had never worn
anything else, and never had any money to buy stockings. Piccola almost always ran about
barefooted, like the kittens and the chickens and the little ducks. What a good time they had that day, and how glad Piccola's mother was that her little girl could have such a pleasant, safe place to play in, while she was away at work!

By and by December came, and the little Americans began to talk about Christmas. One day,
when Piccola's curly head and bright eyes came peeping through the hole in the wall, and they 
ran to her and helped her in; and as they did so, they all asked her at once what she thought she would have for a Christmas present. "A Christmas present!" said Piccola. "Why, what is that?"

All the children looked surprised at this, and Rose said, rather gravely, "Dear Piccola, don't you
know what Christmas is?"

Oh, yes, Piccola knew it was the happy day when the baby Christ was born, and she had been to church on that day and heard the beautiful singing, and had seen the picture of the Babe lying in the manger, with cattle and sheep sleeping round about. Oh, yes, she knew all that very well, but what was a Christmas present?

Then the children began to laugh and to answer her all together. There was such a clatter of
tongues that she could hear only a few of the words now and then, such as "chimney,"
"Santa Claus," "stockings," "reindeer," "Christmas Eve," "candies and toys." Piccola put her
hands over her ears and said, "Oh, I can't understand one word. You tell me, Rose." Then Rose
told her all about jolly Santa Claus, with his red cheeks and white beard and fur coat, and about his reindeer and sleigh full of toys. "Every Christmas Eve," said Rose, "he comes down the
chimney, and fills the stockings of all the good children; so, Piccola, you hang up your stocking,
and who knows what a beautiful Christmas present you will find when morning comes!" Of
course Piccola thought this was a delightful plan, and was very pleased to hear about it. Then all the children told her of every Christmas Eve they could remember, and of the presents they had had; so that she went home thinking of nothing but dolls and hoops and balls and ribbons and marbles and wagons and kites.

She told her mother about Santa Claus, and her mother seemed to think that perhaps he did not know there was any little girl in that house, and very likely he would not come at all. But Piccola felt very sure Santa Claus would remember her, for her little friends had promised to send a letter up the chimney to remind him.

Christmas Eve came at last. Piccola's mother hurried home from her work; they had their little
supper of soup and bread, and soon it was bedtime,—time to get ready for Santa Claus. But oh!
Piccola remembered then for the first time that the children had told her she must hang up her
stocking, and she hadn't any, and neither had her mother.

How sad, how sad it was! Now Santa Claus would come, and perhaps be angry because he
couldn't find any place to put the present.

The poor little girl stood by the fireplace, and the big tears began to run down her cheeks. Just
then her mother called to her, "Hurry, Piccola; come to bed." What should she do? But she
stopped crying, and tried to think; and in a moment she remembered her wooden shoes, and ran off to get one of them. She put it close to the chimney, and said to herself, "Surely Santa Claus will know what it's there for. He will know I haven't any stockings, so I gave him the shoe
instead."

Then she went off happily to her bed, and was asleep almost as soon as she had nestled close to her mother's side.

The sun had only just begun to shine, next morning, when Piccola awoke. With one jump she
was out on the floor and running toward the chimney. The wooden shoe was lying where she had left it, but you could never, never guess what was in it.

Piccola had not meant to wake her mother, but this surprise was more than any little girl could
bear and yet be quiet; so she danced to the bed with the shoe in her hand, calling, "Mother,
mother! look, look! see the present Santa Claus brought me!"

Her mother raised her head and looked into the shoe. "Why, Piccola," she said, "a little chimney
swallow nestling in your shoe? What a good Santa Claus to bring you a bird!"
"Good Santa Claus, dear Santa Claus!" cried Piccola; and she kissed her mother and kissed the
bird and kissed [Pg 46]the shoe, and even threw kisses up the chimney, she was so happy.
When the birdling was taken out of the shoe, they found that he did not try to fly, only to hop
about the room; and as they looked closer, they could see that one of his wings was hurt a little.

But the mother bound it up carefully, so that it did not seem to pain him, and he was so gentle
that he took a drink of water from a cup, and even ate crumbs and seeds out of Piccola's hands.
She was a proud little girl when she took her Christmas present to show the children in the
garden. They had had a great many gifts,—dolls that could say "mamma," bright picture books,
trains of cars, toy pianos; but not one of their playthings was alive, like Piccola's birdling. They
were as pleased as she, and Rose hunted about the house until she found a large wicker cage that belonged to a blackbird she once had. She gave the cage to Piccola, and the swallow seemed to make himself quite at home in it at once, and sat on the perch winking his bright eyes at the children. Rose had saved a bag of candies for Piccola, and when she went home at last, with the cage and her dear swallow safely inside it, I am sure there was not a happier little girl in the whole country of Italy


sXmas_santahat_100-101 THE GIFT OF THE MAGI
BY O. HENRY

ONE dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies
saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one?s cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied.

Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty-seven cents. And the next day would be
Christmas.

There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della
did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.

While the mistress of the home is gradually subsiding from the first stage to the second,
take a look at the home. A furnished flat at $8 per week. It did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the lookout for the mendicancy squad.

In the vestibule below was a letter-box into which no letter would go, and an electric button
from which no mortal finger could coax a ring. Also appertaining thereunto was a card bearing
the name “Mr. James Dillingham Young.”

The “Dillingham” had been flung to the breeze during a former period of prosperity when
its possessor was being paid $30 per week. Now, when the income was shrunk to $20, though,
they were thinking seriously of contracting to a modest and unassuming D. But whenever Mr.
James Dillingham Young came home and reached his flat above he was called “Jim” and greatly
hugged by Mrs. James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della. Which is all very
good.

Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag. She stood by the
window and looked out dully at a gray cat walking a gray fence in a gray backyard. Tomorrow
would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present. She had been
saving every penny she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week doesn?t go far.

Expenses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him.

Something fine and rare and sterling—something just a little bit near to being worthy of the
honor of being owned by Jim.

There was a pier glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you have seen a pier
glass in an $8 flat. A very thin and very agile person may, by observing his reflection in a rapid
sequence of longitudinal strips, obtain a fairly accurate conception of his looks. Della, being
slender, had mastered the art.

Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. Her eyes were shining
brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within twenty seconds. Rapidly she pulled down her
hair and let it fall to its full length. 

Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took
a mighty pride. One was Jim's gold watch that had been his father's and his grandfather's. The
other was Della's hair. Had the queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would
have let her hair hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty's jewels
and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.

So now Della's beautiful hair fell about her rippling and shining like a cascade of brown
waters. It reached below her knee and made itself almost a garment for her. And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet.

On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with
the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she fluttered out the door and down the stairs to the street.

Where she stopped the sign read: “Mme. Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds.” One flight up
Della ran, and collected herself, panting. Madame, large, too white, chilly, hardly looked the
“Sofronie.”

“Will you buy my hair?” asked Della.

“I buy hair,” said Madame. “Take yer hat off and let's have a sight at the looks of it.”
Down rippled the brown cascade.

“Twenty dollars,” said Madame, lifting the mass with a practised hand.

“Give it to me quick,” said Della.

Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed metaphor. She was
ransacking the stores for Jim?s present.

She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other
like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of them inside out. It was a platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by
meretricious ornamentation—as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The Watch. As
soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim's. It was like him. Quietness and value—the
description applied to both. Twenty-one dollars they took from her for it, and she hurried home
with the 87 cents. With that chain on his watch Jim might be properly anxious about the time in any company. Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on account of the old leather strap that he used in place of a chain.

When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason. She
got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by
generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friends—a mammoth task.
Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny, close-lying curls that made her look
wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She looked at her reflection in the mirror long, carefully,
and critically.

“If Jim doesn't kill me,” she said to herself, “before he takes a second look at me, he'll say I
look like a Coney Island chorus girl. But what could I do—oh! what could I do with a dollar and
eighty-seven cents?”

At 7 o' clock the coffee was made and the frying-pan was on the back of the stove hot and
ready to cook the chops.

Jim was never late. Della doubled the fob chain in her hand and sat on the corner of the
table near the door that he always entered. Then she heard his step on the stair away down on the first flight, and she turned white for just a moment. She had a habit of saying a little silent prayer about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered: “Please God, make him think I am still pretty.”

The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and very serious. Poor
fellow, he was only twenty-two—and to be burdened with a family! He needed a new overcoat
and he was without gloves.

Jim stopped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of quail. His eyes were
fixed upon Della, and there was an expression in them that she could not read, and it terrified
her. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face. 

Della wriggled off the table and went for him. “Jim, darling,” she cried, “don't look at me that way. I had my hair cut off and sold because I couldn't have lived through Christmas without giving you a present. It'll grow out again—you won't mind, will you? I just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say „Merry Christmas!? Jim, and let?s be happy. You don't know what a nice—what a beautiful, nice gift I've got for you.”

“You've cut off your hair?” asked Jim, laboriously, as if he had not arrived at that patent
fact yet even after the hardest mental labor.

“Cut it off and sold it,” said Della. “Don't you like me just as well, anyhow? I'm me
without my hair, ain't I?”

Jim looked about the room curiously. “You say your hair is gone?” he said, with an air almost of idiocy.

“You needn't look for it,” said Della. “It's sold, I tell you—sold and gone, too. It's
Christmas Eve, boy. Be good to me, for it went for you. Maybe the hairs of my head were
numbered,” she went on with sudden serious sweetness, “but nobody could ever count my love
for you. Shall I put the chops on, Jim?”

Out of his trance Jim seemed quickly to wake. He enfolded his Della. For ten seconds let us
regard with discreet scrutiny some inconsequential object in the other direction. Eight dollars a
week or a million a year—what is the difference? A mathematician or a wit would give you the
wrong answer. The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them. This dark
assertion will be illuminated later on.

Jim drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table. “Don't make any mistake, Dell,” he said, “about me. I don't think there's anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that could make me like my girl any less. But if you'll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first.”

White fingers and nimble tore at the string and paper. And then an ecstatic scream of joy;
and then, alas! a quick feminine change to hysterical tears and wails, necessitating the immediate employment of all the comforting powers of the lord of the flat.

For there lay The Combs—the set of combs, side and back, that Della had worshipped long
in a Broadway window. Beautiful combs, pure tortoise shell, with jewelled rims—just the shade
to wear in the beautiful vanished hair. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had simply craved and yearned over them without the least hope of possession. And now, they were hers, but the tresses that should have adorned the coveted adornments were gone.
But she hugged them to her bosom, and at length she was able to look up with dim eyes and
a smile and say: “My hair grows so fast, Jim!”

And then Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, “Oh, oh!” 

Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him eagerly upon her open
palm. The dull precious metal seemed to flash with a reflection of her bright and ardent spirit.
“Isn?t it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You?ll have to look at the time a
hundred times a day now. Give me your watch. I want to see how it looks on it.” Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands under the back of his head and smiled.

“Dell,” said he, “let's put our Christmas presents away and keep em a while. They're too
nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now
suppose you put the chops on.”

The magi, as you know, were wise men—wonderfully wise men—who brought gifts to the
Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts
were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And
here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who
most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi


sXmas_santahat_100-101 Little Gretchen and the Wooden Shoe
by Elizabeth Harrison

Once upon a time - so long ago that everybody has forgotten the date - in a city in the
north of Europe - with such a hard name that nobody can ever remember it - there was
a little seven-year-old boy named Wolff, whose parents were dead, who lived with a
cross and stingy old aunt, who never thought of kissing him more than once a year and
who sighed deeply whenever she gave him a bowlful of soup.

But the poor little fellow had such a sweet nature that in spite of everything, he loved the
old woman, although he was terribly afraid of her and could never look at her ugly old
face without shivering.

As this aunt of little Wolff was known to have a house of her own and an old woollen
stocking full of gold, she had not dared to send the boy to a charity school; but, in order
to get a reduction in the price, she had so wrangled with the master of the school, to
which little Wolff finally went, that this bad man, vexed at having a pupil so poorly
dressed and paying so little, often punished him unjustly, and even prejudiced his
companions against him, so that the three boys, all sons of rich parents, made a drudge
and laughing stock of the little fellow.

The poor little one was thus as wretched as a child could be and used to hide himself in
corners to weep whenever Christmas time came.

It was the schoolmaster's custom to take all his pupils to the midnight mass on
Christmas Eve, and to bring them home again afterward.

Now, as the winter this year was very bitter, and as heavy snow had been falling for
several days, all the boys came well bundled up in warm clothes, with fur caps pulled
over their ears, padded jackets, gloves and knitted mittens, and strong, thick-soled
boots. Only little Wolff presented himself shivering in the poor clothes he used to wear
both weekdays and Sundays and having on his feet only thin socks in heavy wooden
shoes.

His naughty companions noticing his sad face and awkward appearance, made many
jokes at his expense; but the little fellow was so busy blowing on his fingers, and was
suffering so much with chilblains, that he took no notice of them. So the band of
youngsters, walking two and two behind the master, started for the church.

It was pleasant in the church which was brilliant with lighted candles; and the boys
excited by the warmth took advantage of the music of the choir and the organ to chatter
among themselves in low tones. They bragged about the fun that was awaiting them at
home. The mayor's son had seen, just before starting off, an immense goose ready
stuffed and dressed for cooking. At the alderman's home there was a little pine-tree with
branches laden down with oranges, sweets, and toys. And the lawyer's cook had put on 
her cap with such care as she never thought of taking unless she was expecting
something very good!

Then they talked, too, of all that the Christ-Child was going to bring them, of all he was
going to put in their shoes which, you might be sure, they would take good care to leave
in the chimney place before going to bed; and the eyes of these little urchins, as lively
as a cage of mice, were sparkling in advance over the joy they would have when they
awoke in the morning and saw the pink bag full of sugar-plums, the little lead soldiers
ranged in companies in their boxes, the menageries smelling of varnished wood, and
the magnificent jumping-jacks in purple and tinsel.

Alas! Little Wolff knew by experience that his old miser of an aunt would send him to
bed supperless, but, with childlike faith and certain of having been, all the year, as good
and industrious as possible, he hoped that the Christ-Child would not forget him, and so
he, too, planned to place his wooden shoes in good time in the fireplace.

Midnight mass over, the worshippers departed, eager for their fun, and the band of
pupils always walking two and two, and following the teacher, left the church.
Now, in the porch and seated on a stone bench set in the niche of a painted arch, a
child was sleeping - a child in a white woollen garment, but with his little feet bare, in
spite of the cold. He was not a beggar, for his garment was white and new, and near
him on the floor was a bundle of carpenter's tools.

In the clear light of the stars, his face, with its closed eyes, shone with an expression of
divine sweetness, and his long, curling, blond locks seemed to form a halo about his
brow. But his little child's feet, made blue by the cold of this bitter December night, were
pitiful to see!

The boys so well clothed for the winter weather passed by quite indifferent to the
unknown child; several of them, sons of the notables of the town, however, cast on the
vagabond looks in which could be read all the scorn of the rich for the poor, of the wellfed
for the hungry.

But little Wolff, coming last out of the church, stopped, deeply touched, before the
beautiful sleeping child.

"Oh, dear!" said the little fellow to himself, "this is frightful! This poor little one has no
shoes and stockings in this bad weather - and, what is still worse, he has not even a
wooden shoe to leave near him to-night while he sleeps, into which the little Christ-Child
can put something good to soothe his misery."

And carried away by his loving heart, Wolff drew the wooden shoe from his right foot,
laid it down before the sleeping child, and, as best he could, sometimes hopping,
sometimes limping with his sock wet by the snow, he went home to his aunt. 
"Look at the good-for-nothing!" cried the old woman, full of wrath at the sight of the
shoeless boy. "What have you done with your shoe, you little villain?"

Little Wolff did not know how to lie, so, although trembling with terror when he saw the
rage of the old shrew, he tried to relate his adventure.

But the miserly old creature only burst into a frightful fit of laughter. "Aha! So my young gentleman strips himself for the beggars. Aha! My young gentleman breaks his pair of shoes for a bare-foot! Here is something new, forsooth. Very well, since it is this way, I shall put the only shoe that is left into the chimney-place, and I'll answer for it that the Christ-Child will put in something to-night to beat you with in the morning! And you will have only a crust of bread and water to-morrow. And we shall see if the next time, you will be giving your shoes to the first vagabond that happens along."

And the wicked woman having boxed the ears of the poor little fellow, made him climb
up into the loft where he had his wretched cubbyhole. Desolate, the child went to bed in the dark and soon fell asleep, but his pillow was wet with tears.

But behold! the next morning when the old woman, awakened early by the cold, went
downstairs - oh, wonder of wonders - she saw the big chimney filled with shining toys,
bags of magnificent bonbons, and riches of every sort, and standing out in front of all
this treasure, was the right wooden shoe which the boy had given to the little vagabond,
yes, and beside it, the one which she had placed in the chimney to hold the bunch of
switches.

As little Wolff, attracted by the cries of his aunt, stood in an ecstasy of childish delight
before the splendid Christmas gifts, shouts of laughter were heard outside. The woman
and child ran out to see what all this meant, and behold! all the gossips of the town were
standing around the public fountain. What could have happened? Oh, a most ridiculous
and extraordinary thing! The children of the richest men in the town, whom their parents
had planned to surprise with the most beautiful presents had found only switches in
their shoes!

Then the old woman and the child thinking of all the riches in their chimney were filled
with fear. But suddenly they saw the priest appear, his countenance full of
astonishment. Just above the bench placed near the door of the church, in the very spot
where, the night before, a child in a white garment and with bare feet, in spite of the
cold, had rested his lovely head, the priest had found a circlet of gold imbedded in the
old stones.

Then, they all crossed themselves devoutly, perceiving that this beautiful sleeping child
with the carpenter's tools had been Jesus of Nazareth himself, who had come back for
one hour just as he had been when he used to work in the home of his parents; and 
reverently they bowed before this miracle, which the good God had done to reward the
faith and the love of a little child.


sXmas_santahat_100-101 THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL
- HANS ANDERSEN -

It was dreadfully cold; it was snowing fast, and was almost dark, as evening came on—the last
evening of the year. In the cold and the darkness, there went along the street a poor little girl,
bareheaded and with naked feet. When she left home she had slippers on, it is true; but they were much too large for her feet,—slippers that her mother had used until then, and the poor little girl lost them in running across the street when two carriages were passing terribly fast. When she looked for them, one was not to be found, and a boy seized the other and ran away with it, saying he would use it for a cradle some day, when he had children of his own.

So on the little girl went with her bare feet, that were red and blue with cold. In an old apron that she wore were bundles of matches, and she carried a bundle also in her hand. No one had bought so much as a bunch all the long day, and no one had given her even a penny.

Poor little girl! Shivering with cold and hunger she crept along, a perfect picture of misery!
The snowflakes fell on her long flaxen hair, which hung in pretty curls about her throat; but she
thought not of her beauty nor of the cold. Lights gleamed in every window, and there came to her the savory smell of roast goose, for it was New Year's Eve. And it was of this which she thought.

In a corner formed by two houses, one of which projected beyond the other, she sat
cowering down. She had drawn under her little feet, but still she grew colder and colder; yet she dared not go home, for she had sold no matches, and could not bring a penny of money. Her father would certainly beat her; and, besides, it was cold enough at home, for they had only the house roof above them; and, though the largest holes had been stopped with straw and rags, there were left many through which the cold wind whistled.

And now her little hands were nearly frozen with cold. Alas! a single match might do her good if she might only draw it from the bundle, rub it against the wall, and warm her fingers by it. So at last she drew one out. Whischt! How it blazed and burned! It gave out a warm, bright flame like a little candle, as she held her hands over it. A wonderful little light it was. It really seemed to the little girl as if she sat before a great iron stove, with polished brass feet and brass shovel and tongs. So blessedly it burned that the little maiden stretched out her feet to warm them also. How comfortable she was! But lo! the flame went out, the stove vanished, and nothing remained but the little burned match in her hand.

She rubbed another match against the wall. It burned brightly, and where the light fell upon the wall it became transparent like a veil, so that she could see through it into the room. A snowwhite cloth was spread upon the table, on which was a beautiful china dinner service, while a roast goose, stuffed with apples and prunes, steamed famously, and sent forth a most savory smell. And what was more delightful still, and wonderful, the goose jumped from the dish, with knife and fork still in its breast, and waddled along the floor straight to the little girl.

But the match went out then, and nothing was left to her but the thick, damp wall.
She lighted another match. And now she was under a most beautiful Christmas tree, larger and
far more prettily trimmed than the one she had seen through the glass doors at the rich 
merchant's. Hundreds of wax tapers were burning on the green branches, and gay figures, such as she had seen in the shop windows, looked down upon her. The child stretched out her hands to them; then the match went out.

Still the lights of the Christmas tree rose higher and higher. She saw them as stars in heaven, and one of them fell, forming a long trail of fire.

"Now some one is dying," murmured the child softly; for her grandmother, the only person who
had loved her and who was now dead, had told her that whenever a star falls a soul mounts up to God.

She struck yet another match against the wall, and again it was light; and in the brightness there appeared before her the dear old grandmother, bright and radiant, yet sweet and mild, and happy as she had never looked on earth.

"Oh, grandmother," cried the child, "take me with you. I know you will go away when the match
burns out. You, too, will vanish, like the warm stove, the splendid New Year's feast, the beautiful Christmas Tree." And lest her grandmother should disappear, she rubbed the whole bundle of matches against the wall.

And the matches burned with such a brilliant light that it became brighter than noonday.
Her grandmother had never looked so grand and beautiful. She took the little girl in her arms,
and both flew together, joyously and gloriously, mounting higher and higher, far above the earth; and for them there was neither hunger, nor cold, nor care;—they were with God.

But in the corner, at the dawn of day, sat the poor girl, leaning against the wall, with red cheeks and smiling mouth,—frozen to death on the last evening of the old year. Stiff and cold she sat, with the matches, one bundle of which was burned.

"She wanted to warm herself, poor little thing," people said. No one imagined what sweet visions she had had, or how gloriously she had gone with her grandmother to enter upon the joys of a new year.


sXmas_santa_100-102 Something to laugh during Christmas 

The Wrong Gift

The parents began to assemble the special Christmas gift they had for their children.   They had ordered a kit for a tree house and received the plans for it.   However, the materials they received were for a sailboat.  They wrote the company to complain.  

The company's reply:  "While we regret the inconvenience this mistake must have cause you, it is nothing compared to that of the man who is out on a lake somewhere trying to sail your tree house."  Bud Brooks, Stamping Ground, KY  

God's Not Deaf

Praying For Gifts.

Two young boys were spending the night at their grandparents the week before Christmas. At bedtime, the two boys knelt beside their beds to say their prayers when the youngest one began praying at the top of his lungs. 

"I PRAY FOR A NEW BICYCLE..." 

"I PRAY FOR A NEW NINTENDO..." 

"I PRAY FOR A NEW VCR..." 

His older brother leaned over and nudged the younger brother and said, "Why are you shouting your prayers? God isn't deaf." 

To which the little brother replied, "No, but Grandma is!" 


sXmas_santawarning_100-100You may not know that........
  • One of my favorite Christmas traditions is attending the Candlelight Christmas Eve service . . . Shari Howerton
  • During the legendary Christmas truce of 1914, English and German soldiers stopped fighting one another, met in the "no man's land" between their armies, traded goods, sang Christmas carols, and even played soccer. Joshua Nickel
  • Is it an acceptable boundary to simply send a Christmas card and ignore a friend for the rest of the year? Jeffrey Dawson
  • Once you put your Christmas tree up, wrap any presents you have and put them under the tree; this will take some of the stress out of last minute wrapping and also looks nice under the tree. Catherine Pulsifer  
  • Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without mince pies. Rosanne Hewitt-Cromwell
  • As this is one of the most anticipated meals of the year, a little bit of planning will help to relieve the stress that surrounds producing a Christmas turkey dinner. Sheila Kiely
  • Christmas can become overly expensive if you let it. Remember a homemade gift is not only nice, but also says, "I love You" more than anything else. Catherine Pulsifer  
  • from tree trimming, to special music, exhanging gifts, good food to name only a few. Take time in this busy season to remember the reason for the season - the birth of Jesus Catherine Pulsifer  
  • At no other time during the year is the spirit of giving and sharing more alive in people's hearts.. Keep this spirit of Christmas in your heart all year long. Sam Longhorn   
  • To be a parent who is unable to provide a Christmas is heartbreaking. We all need to share in making a Christmas for everyone. Rather than that one extra gift, give the money to your church, to an organization that provides for those less fortunate. By helping someone else you will realize the true meaning of Christmas. Catherine Pulsifer   
  • "Christmas can be a maze of commercialism if we let it. Instead, let's make it a moment of clarity in which we view our sometimes confusing and threatening world against the back drop of God's gift to us: the Prince of Peace who was announced by angels on that original 'midnight clear'." David Jeremiah    
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