16 December, 2012

posted 13 Dec 2012, 02:19 by C S Paul   [ updated 14 Dec 2012, 01:59 ]

16 December, 2012

How do you say "Merry Christmas" around the World?
  • Glædelig Jul -- Danish
  • Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan -- Chinese, Mandarin
  • Joyeux Noel -- French
  • Nadolig Llawen -- Welsh
  • Mitho Makosi Kesikansi -- Cree
  • Buon Natale -- Italian
  • Kala Christouyenna! -- Greek
  • Nollaig Shona Dhuit -- Gaelic (Irish)
  • Shub Naya Baras -- Hindi
  • God Jul -- Swedish
  • Boldog Karacsonyt -- Hungarian
  • Feliz Navidad -- Spanish
  • Pozdrevlyayu s prazdnikom Rozhdestva i s Novim Godom -- Russian
  • Sung Tan Chuk Ha -- Korean
  • Frohliche Weihnachten -- German
  • Gesëende Kersfees -- Afrikaans
  • Hyvaa Joulua -- Finnish
  • Kurisumasu omedeto -- Japanese
  • Mele Kalikimaka -- Hawaiian
  • Suksun Wan Christmas -- Thai
  • Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia -- Polish

Christmas Star

This was my grandmother's first Christmas without grandfather, and we had promised him before he passed away that we would make this her best Christmas ever. When my mom, dad, three sisters and I arrived at her little house in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, we found she had waited up all night for us to arrive from Texas. After we exchanged hugs, my sisters and I ran into the house. It did seem a little empty without grandfather, and we knew it was up to us to make this Christmas special for her.

Grandfather had always said that the Christmas tree was the most important decoration of all. So we immediately set to work on the beautiful artificial tree that was kept stored in grandfather's closet. Although artificial, it was the most genuine looking Douglas fir I had ever seen. Tucked away in the closet with the tree was a spectacular array of ornaments, many of which had been my father's when he was a little boy. As we unwrapped each one, grandmother had a story to go along with it. My mother strung the tree with bright white lights and a red button garland; my sisters and I carefully placed the ornaments on the tree; and finally father was given the honor of lighting the tree.

We stepped back to admire our handiwork. To us, it looked magnificent, as beautiful as the tree in Rockefeller Center. But something was missing.

"Where's your star'" I asked.

The star was my grandmother's favorite part of the tree, for it represented the star of Bethlehem that had led the wise men to the infant Jesus.

"Why, it must be here somewhere," she said, starting to sort through the boxes again. "Your grandfather always packed everything so carefully when he took the tree down."

As we emptied box after box and found no star, my grandmother's eyes filled with tears. This was no ordinary ornament, but an elaborate golden star covered with colored jewels and blue lights that blinked on and off. Moreover, grandfather had given it to grandmother some fifty years ago on their first Christmas together. Now, on her first Christmas without him, the star was gone, too.

"Don't worry, Grandmother," I reassured her. "We'll find it for you."

My sisters and I formed a search party.

"Let's start in on the closet where the ornaments were," Donna said. "Maybe the box just fell down."

That sounded logical, so we climbed on a chair and began to search that tall closet of grandfather's. We found father's old yearbooks and photographs of relatives, Christmas cards from years gone by and party dresses and jewelry boxes, but no star.

We searched under beds and over shelves, inside and outside, until we had exhausted every possibility. We could see grandmother was disappointed, although she tried not to show it.

"We could buy a new star," Kristi offered.

"I'll make you one from construction paper," Karen chimed in.

"No," Grandmother said. "This year, we won't have a star."

By now, it was dark outside, and time for bed, since Santa would soon be here. As we lay in bed, we could hear the sound of snowflakes falling quietly outside.

The next morning, my sisters and I woke up early, as was our habit on Christmas day - first, to see what Santa had left under the tree, and second, to look for the Christmas star in the sky. After a traditional breakfast of apple pancakes, the family sat down together to open presents. Santa had brought me the Easy Bake Oven I wanted, and Donna a Chatty Cathy doll. Karen was thrilled to get the doll buggy she had asked for, and Kristi to get the china tea set. Father was in charge of passing out the presents, so that everyone would have something to open at the same time.

"The last gift is to Grandmother from Grandfather," he said, in a puzzled voice.

"From who'" There was surprise in my grandmother's voice.

"I found that gift in grandfather's closet when we got the tree down," Mother explained. "It was already wrapped so I put it under the tree. I thought it was one of yours."

"Hurry and open it," Karen urged excitedly.

My grandmother shakily opened the box. Her face lit up with joy when she unfolded the tissue paper and pulled out a glorious golden star. There was a note attached. Her voice trembled as she read it aloud:

"Don't be angry with me, dear. I broke your star while putting up the decorations, and I couldn't bear to tell you. Thought it was time for a new one. I hope it brings 
you as much joy as the first one. Merry Christmas. Love,Bryant."

So grandmother's tree had a star after all, a star that expressed their everlasting love for one another. It brought my grandfather home for Christmas in each of our hearts and made it our best Christmas ever.

Is Anyone Missing Baby Jesus?

Provided by Free Christian Content.org

About a week before Christmas a family bought a new nativity scene. When they unpacked it they found 2 figures of the Baby Jesus.

"Someone must have packed this wrong," the mother said, counting out the figures. "We have one Joseph, one Mary, three wise men, three shepherds, two lambs, a donkey, a cow, an angel and two babies. Oh, dear! I suppose some set down at the store is missing a Baby Jesus because we have 2."

"You two run back down to the store and tell the manager that we have an extra Jesus. Tell him to put a sign on the remaining boxes saying that if a set is missing a Baby Jesus, call 7126. "Put on your warm coats, it's freezing cold out there."

The manager of the store copied down the mother's message and the next time they were in the store they saw the cardboard sign that read, "If you're missing Baby Jesus, call 7126."

All week long they waited for someone to call. Surely, they thought, someone was missing that important figurine. Each time the phone rang the mother would say, "I'll bet that's about Jesus," but it never was.

The Father tried to explain there are thousands of these scattered over the country and the figurine could be missing from a set in Florida or Texas or California. Those packing mistakes happen all the time. He suggested they just put the extra Jesus back in the box and forget about it. "Put Baby Jesus back in the box! What a terrible thing to do!" said the children.

"Surely someone will call," the mother said. "We'll just keep the two of them together in the manger until someone calls."

When no call had come by 5:00 on Christmas Eve, mother insisted that the father "just run down to the store" to see if there were any sets left. "You can see them right through the window, over on the counter," she said. "If they are all gone, I'll know someone is bound to call tonight."

"Run down to the store?" the father thundered. "It's 15 below zero out there!"

"Oh, Daddy, we'll go with you," said Tommy and Mary as they began to put on their coats. Father gave a long sigh and headed for the front closet. "I can't believe I'm doing this," he muttered.

Tommy and Mary ran ahead as their father reluctantly walked out in the cold. Mary got to the store first and pressed her nose up to the store window. "They're all gone, Daddy," she shouted. "Every set must be sold." "Hooray, Tommy said "The mystery will now be solved tonight!"

When they got back into the house they noticed that the mother was gone and so was the extra Baby Jesus figurine. "Someone must have called and she went out to deliver the figurine," the father reasoned, pulling off his boots. "You kids get ready for bed while I wrap mother's present."

Just then the phone rang. Father yelled "answer the phone and tell'em we found a home for Jesus." But it was the mother calling with instructions for them to come to 205 Chestnut Street immediately, and bring three blankets, a box of cookies and some milk..

"Now what has she gotten us into?" the father groaned as they bundled up again. "205 Chestnut. Why that's across town... Wrap that milk up good in the blankets or it will turn to ice before we get there. Why can't we all just get on with Christmas? It's probably 20 below out there now. And the wind is picking up. Of all the crazy things to do on a night like this."

When they got to the house at 205 Chestnut Street it was the darkest one on the block. Only one tiny light burned in the living room and, the moment they set foot on the porch steps, the mother opened the door and shouted, "They're here, Oh thank God you got here, Ray! You kids take those blankets into the living room and wrap up the little ones on the couch. I'll take the milk and cookies."

"Would you mind telling me what is going on, Ethel?" the father asked. "We have just walked through below zero weather with the wind in our faces all the way."

"Never mind all that now," the mother interrupted. "There is no heat in this house and this young mother is so upset she doesn't know what to do. Her husband walked out on her and those poor little children will have a very bleak Christmas, so don't you complain. I told her you could fix that oil furnace in a jiffy.

The mother strode off to the kitchen to warm the milk while Mary and Tommy wrapped up the five little children who were huddled together on the couch. The children's mother explained to the father that her husband had run off, taking bedding, clothing, and almost every piece of furniture, but she had been doing all right until the furnace broke down.

"I been doin' washin' and ironin' for people and cleanin' the five and dime," she said. "I saw your number every day there, on those boxes on the counter. When the furnace went out, that number kept going' through my mind. 7162, 7162. It said on the box that if a person was missin' Jesus, they should call you. That's how I knew you were good Christian people, willin' to help folks. I figured that maybe you would help me, too. So I stopped at the grocery store tonight and I called your missus. I'm not missin' Jesus, mister, because I sure love the Lord. But I am missin' heat. I have no money to fix that furnace."

"Okay, Okay," said the father. "You've come to the right place. Now lets see. You've got a little oil burner over there in the dining room. Shouldn't be too hard to fix. Probably just a clogged flue. I'll look it over and see what it needs."

The Mother came into the living room carrying a plate of cookies and warm milk. She set the cups down on the coffee table where the figure of Baby Jesus was lying in the center of the table. It was the only sign of Christmas in the house. The children stared wide-eyed with wonder at the plate of cookies set before them. 

The Father finally got the oil burner working but said they would need more oil. " I'll make a few calls tonight and get some oil. Yes sir, you came to the right place," the father grinned.

On the way home the Father did not complain about the cold weather and had barely set foot inside the door when he was on the phone. "Ed, hey,how are ya, Ed?.......Yes, Merry Christmas to you, too. Say Ed, we have kind of an unusual situation here.... I know you've got that pick-up truck. Do you still have some oil in that barrel on your truck? You do?"

By this time the rest of the family were pulling clothes out of their closets and toys off of their shelves. It was long after their bedtime when they were wrapping gifts. The pickup came. On it were chairs, three lamps, blankets and gifts. Even though it was 30 below, the father let the children ride along in the back of the truck.

No one ever did call about the missing figure in the nativity set, but it isn't hard to figure out that it wasn't a packing mistake at all..........

Jesus saves, that's what He does.


by Lew Wallace

Part Four

Judah Ben-Hur trains for five years in the Palaestra in Rome and becomes the heir of the deceased Arrius. Judah goes to Antioch on state business. On the voyage, he learns that his real father's chief servant, Simonides, lives in a house in this city, and that his father's possessions had been entrusted to him. He pays a visit to the house and tells his full story to Simonides, who demands more proof. Ben-Hur replies he has no proof, but asks whether they know the fate of Judah's mother and sister. He says he knows nothing and Judah Ben-Hur leaves the house with an apology. Simonides hires his servant Malluch to spy on Judah to see if his story is true and find more information. Malluch meets and befriends Judah in the Grove of Daphne and they go to the games stadium together. There, Ben-Hur finds his old rival Messala racing one of the chariots, preparing for a tournament.

A prosperous Arab of Antioch, Sheik Ilderim, announces that he is looking for a chariot driver to race his team in the coming tournament. Judah, wanting revenge on Messala, decides to drive the sheik's chariot and defeat Messala. Meanwhile, Balthasar and his daughter Iras are sitting at a fountain in the stadium. Messala's chariot nearly hit them but Judah intervenes. Balthasar thanks Ben-Hur and presents him with a gift. Judah heads to Sheik Ilderim's tent. The servant Malluch follows him there, and along the way they talk about the Christ and Malluch relates Balthasar's story of the Magi. They realize that the man rescued at the fountain was the same Balthasar that saw the Christ's birth.

Back at Simonides' house, Esther, Simonides and Malluch talk together, and conclude that Ben-Hur is who he claims to be, and that he is on their side in the fight against Rome.

Messala realizes that Judah Ben-Hur has been adopted into a Roman home and his honor has been restored. He threatens to take revenge.

Meanwhile, Balthasar and his daughter Iras arrive at the Sheik's tent. With Judah they discuss how the Christ, approaching the age of thirty, is ready to enter public ministry. Judah takes increasing interest in the beautiful Iras.


As Ben-Hur descended the steps of the stand, an Arab arose upon the last one at the foot, and cried out, "Men of the East and West--hearken! The good Sheik Ilderim givethgreeting. With four horses, sons of the favorites of Solomon the
Wise, he bath come up against the best. Needs he most a mighty man to drive them. Whoso will take them to his satisfaction, to him he promiseth enrichment forever. Here--there--in the city and in the Circuses, and wherever the strong most do congregate, tell ye this his offer. So saith my master, Sheik Ilderim the Generous."

The proclamation awakened a great buzz among the people under the awning. By night it would be repeated and discussed in all the sporting circles of Antioch. Ben-Hur, hearing it, stopped and looked hesitatingly from the herald to the sheik. Malluch thought he was about to accept the offer, but was relieved when he presently turned to him, and asked, "Good Malluch, where to now?"

The worthy replied, with a laugh, "Would you liken yourself to others visiting the Grove for the first time, you will straightway to hear your fortune told."

"My fortune, said you? Though the suggestion has in it a flavor of unbelief, let us to the goddess at once."

"Nay, son of Arrius, these Apollonians have a better trick than that. Instead of speech with a Pythia or a Sibyl, they will sell you a plain papyrus leaf, hardly dry from the stalk, and bid you dip it in the water of a certain fountain, when it will show you a verse in which you may hear of your future."

The glow of interest departed from Ben-Hur's face.

"There are people who have no need to vex themselves about their future," he said, gloomily.

"Then you prefer to go to the temples?"

"The temples are Greek, are they not?"

"They call them Greek."

"The Hellenes were masters of the beautiful in art; but in architecture they sacrificed variety to unbending beauty. Their temples are all alike. How call you the fountain?"


"Oh! it has repute throughout the world. Let us thither."

Malluch kept watch on his companion as they went, and saw that for the moment at least his good spirits were out. To the people passing he gave no attention; over the wonders they came upon there were no exclamations; silently, even sullenly, he kept a slow pace.

The truth was, the sight of Messala had set Ben-Hur to thinking. It seemed scarce an hour ago that the strong hands had torn him from his mother, scarce an hour ago that the Roman had put seal upon the gates of his father's house. He recounted how, in the hopeless misery of the life--if such it might be called--in
the galleys, he had had little else to do, aside from labor, than dream dreams of vengeance, in all of which Messala was the principal. There might be, he used to say to himself, escape for Gratus, but for Messala--never! And to strengthen and harden his resolution, he was accustomed to repeat over and over, Who pointed
us out to the persecutors? And when I begged him for help--not for myself--who mocked me, and went away laughing? And always the dream had the same ending. The day I meet him, help me, thou good God of my people!--help me to some fitting special vengeance!

And now the meeting was at hand.

Perhaps, if he had found Messala poor and suffering, Ben-Hur's feeling had been different; but it was not so. He found him more than prosperous; in the prosperity there was a dash and glitter--gleam of sun on gilt of gold.

So it happened that what Malluch accounted a passing loss of spirit was pondering when the meeting should be, and in what manner he could make it most memorable.

They turned after a while into an avenue of oaks, where the people were going and coming in groups; footmen here, and horsemen; there women in litters borne slaves; and now and then chariots rolled by thunderously.

At the end of the avenue the road, by an easy grade, descended into a lowland, where, on the right hand, there was a precipitous facing of gray rock, and on the left an open meadow of vernal freshness. Then they came in view of the famous Fountain of Castalia.

Edging through a company assembled at the point, Ben-Hur beheld a jet of sweet water pouring from the crest of a stone into a basin of black marble, where, after much boiling and foaming, it disappeared as through a funnel.

By the basin, under a small portico cut in the solid wall, sat a priest, old, bearded, wrinkled, cowled--never being more perfectly eremitish. From the manner of the people present, hardly might one say which was the attraction, the fountain, forever sparkling, or the priest, forever there. He heard, saw, was seen, but never spoke. Occasionally a visitor extended a hand to him with a coin
in it. With a cunning twinkle of the eyes, he took the money, and gave the party in exchange a leaf of papyrus.

The receiver made haste to plunge the papyrus into the basin; then, holding the dripping leaf in the sunlight, he would be rewarded with a versified inscription upon its face; and the fame of the fountain seldom suffered loss by poverty of merit in the poetry.

Before Ben-Hur could test the oracle, some other visitors were seen approaching across the meadow, and their appearance piqued the curiosity of the company, his not less than theirs.

He saw first a camel, very tall and very white, in leading of a driver on horse -back. A houdah on the animal, besides being unusually large, was of crimson and gold. Two other horsemen followed the camel with tall spears in hand.

"What a wonderful camel!" said one of the company.

"A prince from afar," another one suggested.

"More likely a king."

"If he were on an elephant, I would say he was a king."

A third man had a very different opinion.

"A camel--and a white camel!" he said, authoritatively. "By Apollo, friends, they who come yonder--you can see there are two of them--are neither kings nor princes; they are women!"

In the midst of the dispute the strangers arrived.

The camel seen at hand did not belie his appearance afar. A taller, statelier brute of his kind no traveller at the fountain, though from the remotest parts, had ever beheld. Such great black eyes! such exceedingly fine white hair! feet so contractile when raised, so soundless in planting, so broad when set!--nobody had ever seen the peer of this camel. And how well he became his housing of silk,
and all its frippery of gold in fringe and gold in tassel! The tinkling of silver bells went before him, and he moved lightly, as if unknowing of his burden.

But who were the man and woman under the houdah?

Every eye saluted them with the inquiry.

If the former were a prince or a king, the philosophers of the crowd might not deny the impartiality of Time. When they saw the thin, shrunken face buried under an immense turban, the skin of the hue of a mummy, making it impossible to form an idea of his nationality, they were pleased to think the limit of life was for the great as well as the small. They saw about his person nothing so enviable as the shawl which draped him.

The woman was seated in the manner of the East, amidst veils and laces of surpassing fineness. Above her elbows she wore armlets fashioned like coiled asps, and linked to bracelets at the wrists by strands of gold; otherwise the arms were bare and of singular natural grace, complemented with hands modelled daintily as a child's. One of the hands rested upon the side of the carriage,
showing tapered fingers glittering with rings, and stained at the tips till they blushed like the pink of mother-of-pearl. She wore an open caul upon her head, sprinkled with beads of coral, and strung with coin-pieces called sunlets, some of which were carried across her forehead, while others fell down her back, half-smothered in the mass of her straight blue-black hair, of itself an incomparable
ornament, not needing the veil which covered it, except as a protection against sun and dust. From her elevated seat she looked upon the people calmly, pleasantly, and apparently so intent upon studying them as to be unconscious of the interest she herself was exciting; and, what was unusual--nay, in violent
contravention of the custom among women of rank in public--she looked at them with an open face.

It was a fair face to see; quite youthful; in form, oval: complexion not white, like the Greek; nor brunet, like the Roman; nor blond, like the Gaul; but rather the tinting of the sun of the Upper Nile upon a skin of such transparency that the
blood shone through it on cheek and brow with nigh the ruddiness of lamplight. The eyes, naturally large, were touched along the lids with the black paint immemorial throughout the East. The lips were slightly parted, disclosing, through their scarlet lake, teeth of glistening whiteness. To all these excellences of countenance the reader is finally besought to superadd the air derived from the
pose of a small head, classic in shape, set upon a neck long, drooping, and graceful--the air, we may fancy, happily described by the word queenly.

As if satisfied with the survey of people and locality, the fair creature spoke to the driver--an Ethiopian of vast brawn, naked to the waist--who led the camel nearer the fountain, and caused it to kneel; after which he received from her hand a cup, and proceeded to fill it at the basin. That instant the sound of wheels and the trampling of horses in rapid motion broke the silence her beauty had imposed, and, with a great outcry, the bystanders parted in every direction, hurrying to get away.

"The Roman has a mind to ride us down. Look out!" Malluch shouted to Ben-Hur, setting him at the same time an example of hasty flight.

The latter faced to the direction the sounds came from, and beheld Messala in his chariot pushing the four straight at the crowd. This time the view was near and distinct.

The parting of the company uncovered the camel, which might have been more agile than his kind generally; yet the hoofs were almost upon him, and he resting with closed eyes, chewing the endless cud with such sense of security as long favoritism may be supposed to have bred in him. The Ethiopian wrung his hands afraid. In the houdah, the old man moved to escape; but he was hampered with age, and could not, even in the face of danger, forget the dignity which was plainly his habit. It was too late for the woman to save herself.

Ben-Hur stood nearest them, and he called to Messala,

"Hold! Look where thou goest! Back, back!"

The patrician was laughing in hearty good-humor; and, seeing there was but one chance of rescue, Ben-Hur stepped in, and caught the  bits of the left yoke-steed and his mate. "Dog of a Roman! Carest thou so little for life?" he cried, putting forth all his strength.

The two horses reared, and drew the others round; the tilting of the pole tilted the chariot; Messala barely escaped a fall, while his complacent Myrtilus rolled back like a clod to the ground. Seeing the peril past, all the bystanders burst into derisive laughter.

The matchless audacity of the Roman then manifested itself. Loosing the lines from his body, he tossed them to one side, dismounted, walked round the camel, looked at Ben-Hur, and spoke partly to the old man and partly to the woman.

"Pardon, I pray you--I pray you both. I am Messala," he said; "and, by the old Mother of the earth, I swear I did not see you or your camel! As to these good people--perhaps I trusted too much to my skill. I sought a laugh at them--the laugh is theirs. Good may it do them!"

The good-natured, careless look and gesture he threw the bystanders accorded well with the speech. To hear what more he had to say, they became quiet. Assured of victory over the body of the offended, he signed his companion to take the chariot to a safer distance, and addressed himself boldly to the woman.

"Thou hast interest in the good man here, whose pardon, if not granted now, I shall seek with the greater diligence hereafter; his daughter, I should say."

She made him no reply.

"By Pallas, thou art beautiful! Beware Apollo mistake thee not for his lost love. I wonder what land can boast herself thy mother.

Turn not away. A truce! a truce! There is the sun of India in thine eyes; in the corners of thy mouth, Egypt hath set her love-signs. Perpol! Turn not to that slave, fair mistress, before proving merciful to this one. Tell me at least that I am pardoned."

At this point she broke in upon him.

"Wilt thou come here?" she asked, smiling, and with gracious bend of the head to Ben-Hur.

"Take the cup and fill it, I pray thee," she said to the latter.

"My father is thirsty."

"I am thy most willing servant!"

Ben-Hur turned about to do the favor, and was face to face with Messala. Their glances met; the Jew's defiant; the Roman's sparkling with humor.

"O stranger, beautiful as cruel!" Messala said, waving his hand to her. "If Apollo get thee not, thou shalt see me again. Not knowing thy country, I cannot name a god to commend thee to; so, by all the gods, I will commend thee to--myself!"

Seeing that Myrtilus had the four composed and ready, he returned to the chariot. The woman looked after him as he moved away, and whatever else there was in her look, there was no displeasure. Presently she received the water; her father drank; then she raised the cup to her lips, and, leaning down, gave it to Ben-Hur; never action more graceful and gracious.

"Keep it, we pray of thee! It is full of blessings--all thine!"

Immediately the camel was aroused, and on his feet, and about to go, when the old man called,

"Stand thou here."

Ben-Hur went to him respectfully.

"Thou hast served the stranger well to-day. There is but one God. In his holy name I thank thee. I am Balthasar, the Egyptian. In the Great Orchard of Palms, beyond the village of Daphne, in the shade of the palms, Sheik Ilderim the Generous abideth in his tents, and we are his guests. Seek us there. Thou shalt have
welcome sweet with the savor of the grateful."

Ben-Hur was left in wonder at the old man's clear voice and reverend manner. As he gazed after the two departing, he caught sight of Messala going as he had come, joyous, indifferent, and with a mocking laugh.

to be continued


Provided by Free Christian Content.org

The old man sat in his gas station on a cold Christmas Eve. He hadn't been anywhere in years since his wife had passed away. He had no decorations, no tree, no lights. It was just another day to him. He didn't hate Christmas, just couldn't find a reason to celebrate. There were no children in his life. His wife had gone.

He was sitting there looking at the snow that had been falling for the last hour and wondering what it was all about when the door opened and a homeless man stepped through.

Instead of throwing the man out, George, Old George as he was known by his customers, told the man to come and sit by the space heater and warm up.

"Thank you, but I don't mean to intrude," said the stranger. "I see you're busy. I'll just go."

"Not without something hot in your belly," George turned and opened a wide mouth thermos and handed it to the stranger. "It ain't much, but it's hot and tasty. Stew. Made it myself. When you're done there's coffee and it's fresh."

Just at that moment he heard the "ding" of the driveway bell. "Excuse me be right back," George said.

There, in the driveway, was an old 53 Chevy. Steam was rolling out of the front. The driver was panicked. "Mister can you help me!" said the driver, with a deep Spanish accent. "My wife is with child and my car is broken."

George opened the hood. It was bad. The block looked cracked from the cold; the car was dead. "You ain't going in this thing," George said, as he turned away.

"But, mister. Please help...." The door of the office closed behind George as he went in. George went to the office wall and got the keys to his old truck, and went back outside. He walked around the building and opened the garage, started the truck and drove it around to where the couple was waiting.

"Here, take my truck," he said. "She ain't the best thing you ever looked at, but she runs real good." George helped put the woman in the truck and watched as it sped off into the night. George turned and walked back inside the office.

"Glad I gave 'em the truck. Their tires were shot, too. That 'ol truck has brand new..." George thought he was talking to the stranger. But, the man had gone. The thermos was on the desk, empty with a used coffee cup beside it.

"Well, at least he got something in his belly," George thought. George went back outside to see if the old Chevy would start. It cranked slowly, but it started. He pulled in into the garage where the truck had been. He thought he would tinker with it for something to do. Christmas Eve meant no customers. He discovered the block hadn't cracked, it was just the bottom hose on the radiator.

"Well, shoot, I can fix this," he said to himself. So, he put a new one on. "Those tires ain't gonna get 'em through the winter either." He took the snow treads off of his wife's old Lincoln. They were like new and he wasn't going to drive the car.

As he was working, he heard shots being fired. He ran outside and, beside a police car, an officer lay on the cold ground. Bleeding from the left shoulder, the officer moaned, "Help me." George helped the officer inside as he remembered the training he had received in the Army as a medic. He knew the wound needed attention. 

"Pressure to stop the bleeding," he thought. The uniform company had been there that morning and had left clean shop towels. He used those and duct tape to bind the wound.

"Hey, they say duct tape can fix anythin'," he said, trying to make the policeman feel at ease. "Something for pain," George thought. All he had was the pills he used for his back. "These ought to work." He put some water in a cup and gave the policeman the pills. "You hang in there. I'm going to get you an ambulance." The phone was dead. "Maybe I can get one of your buddies on that there talk box out in your car."

He went out only to find that a bullet had gone into the dashboard destroying the two-way radio. He went back in to find the policeman sitting up. "Thanks," said the officer. "You could have left me there. The guy that shot me is still in the area.

George sat down beside him. "I would never leave in injured man in the Army and I ain't gonna leave you." George pulled back the bandage to check for bleeding. "Looks worse that what it is. Bullet passed right through 'ya. Good thing it missed the important stuff though. I think, with time, you're gonna be right as rain." George got up and poured a cup of coffee. "How do you take it?" he asked.

"None for me," said the officer. "Oh, yer gonna drink this. Best in the city. Too bad I ain't got no donuts."

The officer laughed and winced at the same time. The front door of the office flew open. In burst a young man with a gun. "Give me all your cash! Do it, now!" the young man yelled. His hand was shaking and George could tell that he had never done anything like this before.

"That's the guy that shot me!" exclaimed the officer. "Son, why are you doing this?" asked George. "You need to put the cannon away. Somebody else might get hurt."

The young man was confused. "Shut up old man, or I'll shoot you, too. Now, give me the cash!" The cop was reaching for his gun. "Put that thing away," George said to the cop. "We got one too many in here now." He turned his attention to the young man. "Son, it's Christmas Eve. If you need the money, well then, here. It ain't much but it's all I got. Now, put that pee shooter away." George pulled $150 out of his pocket and handed it to the young man, reaching for the barrel of the gun at the same time.

The young man released his grip on the gun, fell to his knees and began to cry. "I'm not very good at this am I? All I wanted was to buy something for my wife and son," he went on. "I've lost my job. My rent is due. My car got repossessed last week...."

George handed the gun to the cop. "Son, we all get in a bit of squeeze now and then. The road gets hard sometimes. But we make it through the best we can."

He got the young man to his feet, and sat him down on a chair, across from the cop. "Sometimes, we do stupid things." George handed the young man a cup of coffee. "Being stupid is one of the things that makes us human. Comin' in here with a gun ain't the answer. Now, sit there and get warm and we'll sort this thing out."

The young man had stopped crying. He looked over to the cop. "Sorry I shot you. It just went off. I'm sorry officer." "Shut up and drink your coffee," the cop said.

George could hear the sounds of sirens outside. A police car and an ambulance skidded to a halt. Two cops came through the door, guns drawn.

"Chuck! You ok?" one of the cops asked the wounded officer. "Not bad for a guy who took a bullet. How did you find me?"

"GPS locator in the car. Best thing since sliced bread. Who did this?" the other cop asked as he approached the young man. Chuck answered him, "I don't know. The guy ran off into the dark. Just dropped his gun and ran."

George and the young man both looked puzzled at each other. "That guy work here?," the wounded cop continued. "Yes," George said. "Just hired him this morning. Boy lost his job."

The paramedics came in and loaded Chuck onto the stretcher. The young man leaned over the wounded cop and whispered, "Why?"

Chuck said, "Merry Christmas boy...and you, too, George, and thanks for everything."

"Well, looks like you got one doozy of a break there. That ought to solve some of your problems." George went into the back room and came out with a box. He pulled out a ring box. "Here you go. Something for the little woman. I don't think Martha would mind. She said it would come in handy someday." The young man looked inside to see the biggest diamond ring he ever say. "I can't take this," said the young man. "It means something to you."

"And now it means something to you," replied George. "I got my memories. That's all I need." George reached into the box again. An airplane, a car, and a truck appeared next. They were toys that the oil company had left for him to sell. "Here's something for that little man of yours."

The young man began to cry again as he handed back the $150 that the old man had handed him earlier. "And what are you supposed to buy Christmas dinner with? You keep that, too," George said. "Now, git home to your family."

The young man turned, with tears streaming down his face. "I'll be here in the morning for work, if that job offer is still good."

"Nope. I'm closed Christmas day," George said. "See ya the day after."

George turned around to find that the stranger had returned. "Where'd you come from? I thought you left?"

"I have been here. I have always been here," said the stranger. "You say you don't celebrate Christmas. Why?"

"Well, after my wife passed away I just couldn't see what all the bother was. Puttin' up a tree, and all, seemed a waste of a good pine tree. Bakin' cookies like I used to with Martha just wasn't the same by myself and besides I was getting a little chubby."

The stranger put his hand on George's shoulder, "But, you do celebrate the holiday, George. You gave me food and drink and warmed me when I was cold and hungry. The woman with child will bear a son and he will become a great doctor. The policeman you helped will go on to save 19 people from being killed by terrorists. The young man who tried to rob you will make you a rich man and not take any for himself. That is the spirit of the season and you keep it as good as any man."

George was taken aback by all this stranger had said. "And how do you know all this?" asked the old man.

"Trust me, George. I have the inside track on this sort of thing. And, when your days are done, you will be with Martha again." The stranger moved toward the door. "If you will excuse me, George, I have to go, now. I have to go home, where there is a big celebration planned."

George watched as the old leather jacket and the torn pants that the stranger was wearing turned into a white robe. A golden light began to fill the room. "You see, George...it's my birthday. Merry Christmas."

George fell to his knees and replied, "Happy Birthday, Lord."

It Happened One Christmas 

by Daniel 'Chip' Ciammaichella,  

A picture could never do justice to downtown Raton at Christmastime. Traveling north on Main, one is treated to the twinkling glow of multi-colored Christmas lights lining the street and adorning the well-kept storefronts, all nestled under the imposing, snowcovered mountains and mesas that separate New Mexico from Colorado. At this late hour on Christmas Eve the view was unspoiled by the presence of people and vehicles. Most folks were at home with family and friends, celebrating and looking forward to the magic of Christmas morning. 

Despite the charm of downtown Raton, Daryl Washburn wasn't in a mood to appreciate it as he trudged up Main past the Christmas tree in Ripley Park. He was having a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit this year. Daryl, along with his wife and twin daughters, had moved to Raton almost two years earlier. He had taken a job at the Cimarron underground coal mining operation, but was recently laid off when the company shut the mine down. Daryl had been looking for work ever since, living off of his severance pay and doing any odd jobs he could find. His truck needed a transmission, he was a month behind with the rent, the kids were outgrowing clothing and shoes rapidly, and his wife Sara had recently quit working at the Loaf-n-Jug because of the advanced state of her 
pregnancy. It was going to be a lean Christmas for the Washburns. 

As Daryl turned up towards Sugarite and the north part of town, he stopped to adjust the armload of packages he was carrying. These packages were all the presents the Washburns would get this Christmas. He'd gotten a winter coat and a doll for each of the twins, slippers and a ten-dollar pair of earrings for Sara, and a small turkey for Christmas dinner. 

"Not much, but better than nothing." he mumbled to himself as he continued on his way towards home. He had hoped to buy more, but he'd lost the money to do so. It was his own fault. Daryl had figured on saving a few bucks on a Christmas tree by just cutting his own from up on the Old Pass Road. The tree turned out to be a very expensive one indeed, after the property owner had him arrested and the judge socked him with a three hundred dollar fine. 

"If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all," he'd told the judge. Despite his current run of bad luck, Daryl refused to let go of his lifelong dream. He wanted to own his own small business. Ever since high school Daryl had been interested 
in computers and the way they would change the way Americans lived, worked, and played. He figured that with the right computer equipment and software, he could offer a variety of services from his own home, starting off part-time as he worked a regular job and building up to a full time endeavor. Back home in Kentucky, he had followed in his father's footsteps and worked in the coal mines. 

Unfortunately, the coal mining business back east was mediocre, at best. Just as he would begin to earn enough money to start saving for his dream, the lay-offs would come. When he did return to work, it was all he could manage just to pay the bills that had piled up while he was laid off. He jumped at the chance to work in the New Mexico mine. He worked hard, was well liked, and saved every penny he could. Just as he'd caught up on paying moving expenses, Sara discovered she was pregnant again. Then the Cimarron mine closed down, and Daryl was out of work again. 

As Daryl made his way through the crisp Raton winter night he didn't notice the gay decorations, the twinkling lights, or the sweet smell of burning cedar and pinon that wisped up from every fireplace. His mind was so cluttered by his own problems he didn't even notice the struggling figures under the railroad underpass, until he was right on top of them. A feeble cry for help jolted his senses back to the here and now. 

"Help me somebody! Please, don't do this." 

Not ten feet in front of Daryl was an old man dressed as Santa Claus, lying on the ground, pleading with three youths who were kicking him as he lay defenseless. 
"Come on, old man. Give us your money or we'll hurt you bad." 

"Yeah, you fat old coot. Give up the cash." 

"Please, I don't have any money. Leave me alone. I'm late; I've got to get going. Don't you boys believe in Santa Claus?" 

"Sure, we believe in Santa, don't we guys? You'd better believe in God, cause your gonna need him if you don't hand over your wallet." The young thug punctuated his words with a kick to the old man's ribs. 

As the ugly scene unfolded before his eyes, all of Daryl's sadness and frustration turned to rage. "Things like this don't happen in Raton, especially not on Christmas Eve," he thought angrily. He dropped his packages and rushed toward the old man and his assailants. 

"Hey! You punks leave that old man alone." 

Startled, the youths turned to face Daryl. While the three only looked to be only sixteen or seventeen, their eyes had the hollow look of hungry wolves closing in for the kill. 

Daryl had fought his share of fights, but a chill ran down his spine as he wondered if he could handle this bunch alone. The old man in the Santa suit didn't look to be in much shape to help out, and Daryl thought furiously for a way to get out of this in one piece. 

He thought, "When in doubt, bluff". "I've had a bad day, boys. Why don't you just go on your way and save me the trouble of  giving you the whipping your daddies should have." 

The youths only laughed. "What have we here, a concerned citizen? Why don't you just keep on walking, mister? Hurry, before we stomp on you like we did old Santa Bum there." 

The closest youth let fly a large ball of spit that found its mark on Daryl's face. 

"That tears it..." Daryl launched his right fist directly into the nose of the spitter, causing him to fall to the ground holding his bleeding, broken, nose between his hands. Daryl then turned to face the other two thugs, but before he could lash out again he felt a sharp pain shoot through his head, then another, and another, and another. 
"So much for bluffing...," he thought as the world went black. 
As Daryl began to regain his senses, he felt like every part of his body was in pain. His head felt like ten thousand little men were using jackhammers on it, from the inside. He tried to get up, but collapsed as the world began to spin around him.
"By golly, I was starting to think that you were dead, son." 

Daryl opened his eyes, and once they regained focus he saw the face of a white bearded old man studying him. The old man's white hair and beard were matted with blood from his nose and split lip. His blue eyes twinkled with the reflected light of the street-lamps, though the tissue around them was red and swollen. 
"Wha... what happened. I feel as bad as you look." 

"Just take it easy son. Those boys gave you a pretty good beating. Sorry, but you don't look so good yourself, you kinda remind me of ten miles of bad road." The old man chuckled, then became serious again. "You saved me from those whippersnappers, and I sure thank you. I'm sorry you had to take a beating on my account. You broke that one fella's nose pretty good, and I'll bet the others really hurt their hands on your head." He chuckled again. 

"Don't make me laugh, old man. It hurts too much. Who the hell are you anyway?" 

"Don't you recognize me?" 

Daryl sat up and studied the old man. He had taken a bit of a beating himself, and his red Santa suit was soiled and torn. 

"Sorry, I don't. Maybe if you took off the Santa outfit." The old man's massive belly shook as he laughed. "It's no costume, son. I'm the real thing. I'm Kris Kringle." 

"Yeah right. I'm serious, laughing kind of hurts right now. Help me up and I'll walk you to the police station." 

"Oh, no, no. That won't do at all. I've still got a lot of ground to cover tonight. I'm late, I must get going." 

"Don't be silly. The police department is just a few blocks away. Let me just get my stuff and I'll walk over there with you. I'm O.K. Nothing broken or anything." 
Daryl turned to retrieve his packages. 

"I'm sorry, old timer. Things like this usually don't happen around here. Those young punks should be.... Wait! Where's my packages! Those little so and so's stole my Christmas presents and my turkey!" 

Daryl's hand shot to his rear pocket. "They stole my wallet too! Of all the bad luck. I knew I should have minded my own business. Did you see which way they went?"
No answer. 

Daryl turned to face the old Santa. "I asked you if you saw which way they... Old man?" 

Daryl's gaze fell on an empty street. The old man in the Santa suit was nowhere to be seen. 

"Just great. I get my butt whipped, my wallet stolen, lose my Christmas presents and Christmas dinner, and that crazy old man just wanders off. OLD MAN, COME BACK!" 

Daryl hollered in frustration. 

Once he realized that the Santa was indeed gone, he began to rant, rave, and hit the concrete sides of the underpass. I can't repeat his words in mixed company. Suddenly, Daryl's ranting words were drowned out by a piercing, WHOOP, WHOOP. As Daryl turned towards the sound, the bright beam of the police spotlight blinded him. 

"Now you guys show up." 
Later, the police cruiser pulled up slowly in front of Daryl's house.
"Thanks for the ride, guy. I appreciate it." The police officer leaned towards the passenger side door. 

"No problem. Sorry about the hard time we gave you tonight. You've got to admit, you were acting pretty crazy, and your story sounded even crazier. Santa getting mugged… I can't remember the last time Raton had a mugging, let alone on Santa Claus. Merry Christmas to you." 

"Yeah, some Christmas. Thanks again, officer." 

Daryl's mood had improved somewhat, but as he approached his front door he was filled with sadness. Christmas was ruined. He'd lost his presents for Sara and the kids, he'd lost Christmas dinner, and he'd lost the little money he had left. 
"Darn crazy old man probably deserved to be mugged. Should have just minded my own business." 
Sara was awake. The police had called and assured her that he was all right, but Daryl could tell that she had been crying. Daryl fell into her arms. 

"I'm sorry babe." 

His wife smiled sadly, "No use crying over spilled milk. Come on to bed and tell me all about it." 

Sara and Daryl checked in on the kids before retiring to their bedroom. Daryl thought to himself how sweet and innocent his daughters looked. 

"It's not fair that a bunch of young punks and a crazy old man should ruin their 
Christmas. It's just not fair." 

As he lay in his bed, Sara stroking the hair on his forehead, Daryl relived the events of the night. Sara was silent after he finished. For a moment neither spoke, then Daryl broke down and began to cry. 

"I'm so sorry, Sara. I've ruined Christmas. When will I ever learn? I'm just a born loser. You and the kids would be better off without me." 

Sara took Daryl's head into her small hands and looked him in the eye. Daryl could see anger behind her ocean blue eyes, and he turned away. 

"Here it comes," he thought to himself. 

"You listen here, Mr. Daryl Washburn. You're no loser and I love you very much. I won't have such talk. You're a good husband and father. The twins adore you and I hope this little package I'm carrying now will be a boy... and I hope he grows up to be just like his daddy. You did the right thing tonight. You couldn't just stand by and watch a poor helpless old man get beaten and robbed. I'm proud of you, and I'll not tolerate any more self-pity. You didn't ruin Christmas, and neither did that old man or those terrible young hoodlums. Christmas has nothing to do with money, or turkeys, or presents. You're safe, you have a family that loves you, and we're together. What more could anyone ask for?" 

Daryl raised his head and looked at his wife, tears welling in her eyes, proudly defiant. She never looked more beautiful. 

"I love you, Sara." 

"Turn out the light, darling. Tomorrow is another day." 
The excited screams of Daryl's twin daughters woke him after it seemed he had just fallen asleep. 

"Daddy! Mommy! Wake up! It's Christmas!" Molly and Millie jumped into the bed, then back out, too excited to stay still. 

"O.K. girls, go on downstairs. Daddy and I will be down in a minute. We need to talk to you." 

Millie ran out, Molly close on her heals. 

"Can we open our presents, Mommy?" they pleaded on the way out. The girls were gone in a flash, saving Daryl and Sara the difficult answer. 

"I guess we'd better get it over with." 

Arms around each other, Daryl and Sara walked down the stairs, each dreading having to face their daughters empty handed on Christmas morning. Daryl's heart was almost torn to shreds when he saw the confused, worried look on the faces of his girls as they searched the house for presents they knew had to be somewhere. 

"Santa didn't come, did he?" Millie's eyes were filling with tears. 

Molly was more optimistic. "Maybe he's playing a trick on us. Kinda like the Easter 
Bunny does." Her voice didn't sound confident. 

Daryl started to speak, but the words wouldn't come. Sara took charge, wiping her tear soaked eyes. "Girls, let's sit down and talk..." 

The ringing of the doorbell gave Sara a reprieve. "Who could that be? Get the door Daryl, I need to put something on." She streaked up the stairs. 

When Daryl opened the door, he almost had a stroke. The police officer who had helped him the night before was standing on the porch, and he seemed to have the entire police department with him… and the fire department as well. 

"Uh... Merry Christmas officer... er... officers. Can I help you?" Daryl's voice was meek, indeed. 

"Sorry to bother you at home, sir. But we figured you would want this stuff." 
He handed Daryl a few packages. 

"I believe that these were the items stolen from you last night." 

Daryl was dumbfounded. "How did you find them?" 

"Well sir, the punks that stole it from you turned themselves in, and brought their loot with them. It seems they had a good night robbing citizens and looting businesses, but met up with some guy dressed in a Santa suit who scared the bejabbers out of them. They were so scared of the guy that they confessed to about three dozen robberies and burglaries, committed over that last month. 

They asked us to protect them by putting them in jail. Go figure." 

"Daryl, why is the whole police department here?" Sara joined her husband at the door, her eyes wide with wonder. 

"And the fire department too, ma'am," piped the policeman, "We needed some help in getting all your other stuff over here." 

Now Daryl was confused. "What stuff? This is all I had, except for a turkey." 

"We got your turkey too, sir. It wasn't in such good shape though, so these guys and I all chipped in to get you this one." The officer snapped his fingers, and a young fireman stepped forward and handed Daryl a thirty-pound Butterball. 

Sara's eyes were beginning to get moist again. "Thank you all so much, but what is all that other stuff?"
"Well ma'am, that's a funny thing. We figured that you all needed a few more toys for your kids, so we went to load up the SWAT wagon with our leftover Toys-for-Tots stuff. 

When we opened the door of the wagon, we found a bunch of Christmas packages, all with your names on them. The darn wagon was so full of stuff; we had to call the fire department to help us deliver it to you. I don't even want to think about how it all got there. We see lots of weird stuff in our line of work. I quit asking questions a long time ago." 

As Daryl and Sara stood and stared, jaws dropped to their chests, the police and firemen formed a bucket line and began passing brightly wrapped packages to each other, and into the house. Molly and Millie began tearing the wrappings off at once, their delighted screams filling the paper-strewn air. It took most of the morning to unwrap all of the presents. There were toys and clothing for the twins, as well as for the little one on the way. There were grown-up presents as well. Sara got the set of books she wanted, the complete works of Stephen King. Daryl got a state-of-the-art computer, along with a printer, assorted software, and a book: How to Make Money at Home With Your PC. 

Daryl's dream seemed within his reach once again. 

"Yes, tomorrow is another day," he thought to himself. 
Later that evening, Daryl laid back in the easy chair. The combination of all the 
excitement of the last day, and a great turkey dinner, had exhausted him. He didn't try to rationalize the events of the day… that could be done later, after a good night's sleep. For now, he was content at admitting that Christmas was indeed a magical day. He got up and went to the kitchen to turn off the lights. Sara had already gone up to bed, and he was anxious to snuggle up in a nice warm bed. He flipped the switch and returned to the living room. 

"I told you I was running late." 

The voice made Daryl jump. Sitting in Daryl's easy chair, smoking a pipe, was a chubby little old man with a white beard. His red suit was soiled and torn. His eyes had a twinkle that made Daryl recognize him at once. 

"You'd better go up to your wife now, son." 

Before Daryl could speak a word, he was gone. He rubbed his eyes, not sure of their accuracy. 

"I'd better get some sleep," he mumbled as he trudged up the stairs, checked in on the girls and went to his bedroom. Sara was still awake, gazing out the window at the moon rising over Johnson Mesa. 

"This is a magical town," she whispered. 

"Yes, it is." 

Sara turned to face him. There was a mysterious glow in her eyes. "There's one more present for you." "You mean Molly and Millie missed one?" 

"No dear." Her eyes were laughing. 

"You mean...?" 

Daryl wasn't that tired. He reached out to embrace her.
Sara began to giggle. 

"Yes. I think it's time to go to the hospital." 

The Power of Positive Thinking

Chapter 11 continued

Another friend of mine, a prominent businessman, suffered a heart attack. For weeks he was confined to his bed, but presently returned to his important responsibilities where he now accomplishes all that he ever did previously, but with much less tension. He seems to possess a new power that he did not enjoy before. His recovery proceeded from a definite and scientific spiritual approach to his health problem. He had competent physicians and followed their directions
explicitly, which is an important factor in such situations.

In addition to the program of medication and treatment, however, he worked out a spiritual healing formula. He outlined it as follows, writing from the hospital, "An intimate friend of mine, only twenty-five years old, was brought into the hospital with an attack similar to mine and died within four hours. Two acquaintances of mine have suffered a similar fate in rooms near by. It must be that I have work yet to do. So I shall return and apply myself to the tasks before
me with the expectation of living longer and more abundantly than I might have done without this experience.

The doctors were wonderful, the nurses grand, the hospital ideal."

He then proceeds to outline the technique of spiritual convalescence which he employed. The formula consists of three parts. "(1) During the first stages, when absolute rest was demanded, I heeded the admonition of the Psalmist, 'Be still and know that I am God.' " (Psalm 46:10) That is to say, he completely relaxed and rested in the hands of God. "

As the days grew brighter, I used the affirmation, 'Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart.' " (Psalm 27:14) The patient put his heart under the care of God and God placed His hand of healing upon his heart and renewed it. "(3) Finally with the return of strength came a new assurance and confidence to which I gave expression in the affirmation, 'I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.' " (Philippians 4:13) In this he affirmed positively that strength was being conferred upon him and in so doing he received new power.

In this three-point formula this man found healing. The able ministrations of his physicians conserved and stimulated the healing forces of his physical being. The equally wise application of faith completed his recovery by stimulating the spiritual powers within his nature. The two therapies together draw upon the two great renewal forces within our life, one the recuperative power of the human body and the other the restorative forces resident within the mind. One
responds to medical treatment, the other to faith treatment, and God presides in both areas. He made both body and mind and He established the processes of health and well- being governing both. "...In Him we live and move and have
our being." (Acts 17:28)

In the prevention of sickness and in healing mind and body, do not fail to draw upon one of the greatest resources available to you—the faith that heals.

In the light of the principles outlined in this chapter, what can you do of a constructive nature when a loved one or you are ill? Following are eight practical suggestions:

1. Follow the advice of a prominent medical school head who said, "In sickness, send for your minister even as you send for your doctor." In other words, believe that spiritual forces as well as medical technique are important in healing.

2. Pray for the doctor. Realize that God uses trained human instrumentality to aid His healing powers. As one doctor has put it, "We treat the patient and God heals him." Pray, therefore, that the doctor may be an open channel of God's healing grace.

3. Whatever you do, do not become panicky or filled with fear, for if you do, you will send out negative thoughts and therefore destructive thoughts in the direction of your loved one when he requires positive and healing thoughts to assist him.

4. Remember that God does nothing except by law. Also remember that our little materialistic laws are only fragmentary revelations of the great power flowing through the universe. Spiritual law also governs illness. God has arranged two
remedies for all illness. One is healing through natural laws applicable by science, and the other brings healing by spiritual law applicable through faith.

5. Completely surrender your loved one into the hands of God. By your faith you can place him in the flow of Divine power. There is healing there, but in order for it to be effective the patient must be completely released to the operation of God's will. This is difficult to understand and equally difficult to perform, but it is a fact that if the great desire for the loved one to live is matched with an equally
great willingness to relinquish him to God, healing powers are amazingly set in motion.

6. It is also important that harmony prevail in the family, that is, a spiritual harmony. Remember the emphasis in the scripture, Matthew 18:19: "If two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for
them of my Father which is in heaven." Apparently disharmony and disease are akin.

7. Form a picture in your mind of the loved one as being well. Visualize him in perfect health. Picture him as radiant with the love and goodness of God. The conscious mind may suggest sickness, even death, but nine tenths of your mind is
in the subconscious. Let the picture of health sink into the subconscious and this powerful part of your mind will send forth radiant health energy. What we believe in the subconscious we usually get. Unless your faith controls the
subconscious, you will never get any good thing, for the subconscious gives back only that which you real thought is. If the real thought is negative, the results will also be negative. If the real thought is positive, you will get positive and healing results.

8. Be perfectly natural. Ask God to heal your loved one. That is what you want with all your heart, so ask Him please to do it, but we suggest that you say PLEASE just once. Thereafter in your prayer, thank Him for His goodness. This affirmative faith will help to release deep spiritual power and also joy through reassurance of God's loving care. This joy will sustain you, and remember that joy itself possesses healing power.