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HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS

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Christmastime is here.
Again.
We don't always want to hear that news.
For Beyonders, Christmas can be bittersweet. There are empty chairs around our Christmas table. Aching places in our hearts.
It's pretty much the same for kids in our homes. No matter how bright we see their futures, they ache for parts of their pasts.
And Christmas can rub heart-sores raw.
But it can also be a time of healing, and bonding and connecting.
Because, no matter how we perceive Christmas, the angel had it pegged when he said
"I bring you good tidings of a great joy."
 
 
Christmas music courtesy of  deckernet.com 
 

**********************
       IN 1995, OUR 20 YEAR OLD SON CHAD WAS MURDERED. LIKE MANY OF YOU, WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED LOSSES, WE WANTED A WAY TO REMEMBER OUR CHILD AT THIS TIME OF YEAR.
CHAD HAD GOTTEN AN OLD BIKE FROM ONE OF HIS FRIENDS, WITH THE IDEA OF FIXING IT UP. HE NEVER GOT THE CHANCE. WE HAVEN'T RESTORED IT EITHER, BUT WE DECORATE IT WITH LIGHTS EACH CHRISTMAS.
 
THE CHRISTMAS BIKE

“But why a bicycle? Why not a sled?”

It’s just not Christmassy, dear,” she said.

And then my neighbor took herself home

To her present-filled sleigh and four-foot, lighted gnome.

Her yard did look festive, all dressed for the season

And I couldn’t explain the bicycle’s reason.

Why, in December, flat tires wreathed in lights,

The bike is the dearest of our Christmas sights.

The handlebars glow with bright garland’s reflection

Reminding that God gives our family direction.

The faded, chipped paint says that in this brief life

We often have pain, disappointment and strife.

But in Everafter, where everything’s new

Our pain disappears, and our deepest trials, too.

The wobbly spokes rusted but still hanging on

Remind us to push until our race is done.

Why a bicycle? My eyes always tear.

You see it was owned by someone we hold dear.

He was here and then-in a breath-he was gone

Leaving his family behind to go on.

But tears turn to laughter as boys turn to men,

And this bike reminds us we’ll see him again.

Because of the Child of that blessed Christmas birth,

Our child waits to greet us when we leave this earth,

Oh, why a bicycle? What picture more clear

Of the race and the hope of the dawning new year?

 

############### 

 

*CLICK HERE FOR SOME CHRISTMAS FUNNIES!

 

            

       <> AND HERE FOR AN INSPIRING CHRISTMAS STORY

 

 

             ?    HOW ABOUT SOME GREAT CHRISTMAS

RECIPES

 

               Still not in the mood?  Try these sights and sounds.

 

             *      *     *     *   *

 

CLICK ON THE STARS

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THE CHRISTMAS TOILET

                                by Anne Caryl

Ellis always said Walter Olick was mean spirited that Christmas of ’63. And maybe he was right. After all, Christmas was supposed to be a time of good will and peace on earth. That year, Christmas fell on a Wednesday, which meant a lot of Reasonites had to go back to work on Thursday. Walt Olick felt cheated.

It wasn’t that he hated his job. Walt liked working at the tire center. He simply didn’t believe other people should have opportunities he didn’t. If the county clerk didn’t have to show up on Thursday morning, by gosh, then Walt should be able to sleep in as well.

Anyway, the trouble started at Hay Ride Christmas. The whole town came out for the Jingle Parade, when everything that moved was outfitted in bells and lined up to cruise Main Street. Walt mounted one of Reason Hardware’s cheaper toilets onto a car trailer and affixed a motor to it so the seat would go up and down as a loudspeaker played the sound of a toilet flushing. He spread glue all over the toilet and covered it in silver glitter. The lid went up and down, and a little elf hand attached to the lid with fishing line that was nearly invisible, seemed to reach up out of that toilet bowl every time the seat lifted. The whole thing was synchronized to an old recording of Bing Crosby crooning “Silver Bells.”

Sarah Stoddard was mortified. After all, it wasn’t Halloween Reason was celebrating. It was Christmas. Sarah didn’t have anything to say about the Bison’s Club float with the Twelve Days of Christmas each portrayed by a girl dressed in a swimming suit, standing next to a calling bird or a cardboard piper, enthusiastically ringing a hand bell. That was different. It was in questionable taste, still it didn’t make a comment about the holiday. But a toilet, for Pete’s sake-- So Sarah wrote a letter to the editor of the “Informer”

Walt read the letter and steamed up. He’d been feeling a little embarrassed about the whole parade thing before the letter, but now he was just plain mad. He didn’t mean anything by the toilet. It was just something that—well, like the little old ladies with the blue hair, it had seemed a good idea at the time. Now, though, now he had to stand his guns. He took the toilet off the float and set it up in his front yard. He hung a string of white lights around the bowl and put up a sign that read “Stool-Tide Greetings.” The fact that Sarah was Walt’s cousin made the situation a source of entertainment for Reason.

A photo of the Christmas toilet wound up on the front page of the second section of The Denver Post. Sarah nearly had an apoplectic fit.

Walt decided that, the damage being done, he might as well run with the ball. He stuffed a pair of hose with cotton and pinned them into the legs of his old long Johns. Then he shoved a plastic Santa figure into the top and set him onto the sequined toilet. The effect was stunning.

Sarah drove by and was moved to tears. She would’ve stopped and had it out with Walt right then and there, but she remembered she and Walt would have to look at each other across the Christmas table at Grandma May’s house. She decided to distance herself from the whole thing. She felt better as soon as she made the decision.

Meanwhile, Walt was getting his share of heckling at the tire store. Ellis Bass, who ran the store office, got inspired and stacked old tires like a tree. He spray-painted them green and wrapped a banner of little orange plastic “sale” pennants around them for decoration. The other men who worked at the store wore Badge-A-Minute name tags made using photos of the toilet.

Walt decided—like Sarah—to disassociate. He took down all his holiday decorations, the toilet included. He refrained from saying “Merry Christmas” to anyone and, when he caught himself humming along to carols on the radio, rubbed a big pinch of alum on his gums.

The week before Christmas, carolers started showing up at Walt’s door. It seems every preacher in town thought it was his personal mission to redeem Walt. Walt opened his door the first time…came out in his stocking feet and stood shivering on the front step while the Episcopal Youth Choir, under the direction of Louella Pierce, sang all six stanzas of “The First Noel,” followed by a cheery rendition of “We Wish You A Merry Christmas.” After that, when he heard carolers on his block, Walt just shut off his lights and hid out in the bathroom.

Christmas Eve, Sarah stopped off at Walt’s to make sure he was planning on dinner at Grandma May’s the next day. When he came to the door, Sarah nearly fainted. Walt hadn’t shaved, and his five-o’clock-shadow had become a dark forest of scraggly dead branches covering the bottom half of his pale face. His wrinkled shirt had ketchup stains and smelled like old cheese. Sarah tried holding her breath, but then she couldn’t talk, so she said what she had to say through clenched teeth. That made her sound like James Cagney in an old gangster movie.

“I want to apologize,” Sarah told Walt. She told him she was sorry things had gotten so blown out of proportion. After all, it was Christmas and they were family and….

Walt nearly bawled. He was sorry, too, and wanted this whole thing to stop. But he didn’t know how to get out of it without looking so darned foolish. Sarah agreed. They hugged, though Sarah disengaged quickly. When she got home, Sarah soaked that jacket in half a cup of baking soda to erase the scent of Walt’s self-imposed exile.

Christmas Day, a clean-shaved Walt drove the two miles out to Grandma May’s farmhouse. The sky was bluer than he ever remembered it. The skiff of snow that had fallen and blown clear during the night dusted yellow corn stalks standing in the field. As he made the turn into the drive, a rooster pheasant dove in front of him into a clump of dry grass. The farm house, white against the sky, was outfitted in green garlands and wreaths and there was a big red bow on the gate. Walt stopped the car right in the middle of the drive.

He understood, now, what Sarah had been so upset about. The whole toilet thing had seemed a poke at Christmas. And Christmas had nothing to do with working an extra day, or with his glittered toilet, or with the painted tree at the tire shop. It had to do with love and peace—not just his, but peace to men of goodwill everywhere. And family. It was about love and family.

He dug out a handkerchief from his glove box and wiped his nose and eyes. And then and there, he promised—like Ebenezer Scrooge—to always keep Christmas…within Reason.

 

 

I SHALL ENDEAVOR TO KEEP CHRISTMAS IN MY HEART ALL THROUGH THE YEAR