It’s Christmas


J. D. Pendry


But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.  – Luke 2: 10-11


I was in the 3rd grade.  My schoolhouse was a white, wooden one-story building with the Guyandotte River on one side and the railroad tracks and Coal Company’s store on the other.  It held grades 1 through 6.  My teacher was Mrs. Waddell.  She kept track of our misdeeds through the week and made us pay for them with her paddle on Fridays.  I never missed an opportunity to get one of Mrs. Waddell’s Friday paddlings.  She usually collected at the end of the day.  Her licks with the paddle didn’t hurt much, but we always tried to influence her voracity for administering them by pretending great pain.


One Friday afternoon, I was looking at my tick marks on the chalkboard when Mrs. Waddell called me to come into the cloakroom.  I was sure that I was in for a serious whoupin if it was to be in the cloakroom.  Generally, she just bent us over in front of the class, humiliation being part of the punishment.  When I reluctantly walked into the cloakroom, Mrs. Waddell, instead of clobbering me, pointed to several bags filled with clothing and told me to make sure I took them home with me.  She said they were clothes her son had outgrown and she wanted me to have them.  The truth is, I needed clothes and she knew it.  I don’t recall anything else from the 3rd grade, but somehow I remember that Friday afternoon.  I expect there is a reason why I remember it.  I took the clothes and my Friday paddling.


On Thursday, following our return from two weeks in Korea, Su was busy filling up boxes with clothes.  In one box, I noticed a down vest that I often wear in the winter.  Sort of like a favorite shirt or pair of jeans.  I asked her what she was doing and she answered, “Salvation Army.”  “You’re giving away my vest?”  I whined.  She opened the door to the hall closet where we hang jackets and coats.  She pointed to a fleece vest, an insulated reversible vest, a nylon fleece lined vest and a lined windbreaker vest.  I looked at my feet.  One of the things in Mrs. Waddell’s bags was a winter jacket.


I went to my closet and pulled out some shirts, pants and several pairs of shoes I hadn’t worn in a couple of years.  I went to my sweater drawer and pulled out some of them I hadn’t worn in several years also.  Su called me to a closet and had me pull a couple of heavy blankets from the shelf.  I asked if she was sure that she wanted to give away “expensive” blankets and she replied that we have plenty of blankets and these are just sitting here – and it’s cold.  She also added sweaters and jackets of hers that had not seen light outside of her closet for quite sometime.


As usual, Household 6 was right.  We have plenty of clothing and other things sitting in our closets unused - things that can bring some comfort to others who need it.  We also dropped off some canned food at our Church collection point, which will help prepare Christmas food baskets for those in need.  Try it.  Nothing works better to get you into the true spirit of Christmas than doing something for someone else.  Someone will appreciate that vest when the weather turns cold and he’ll have the fixings for Christmas dinner too.  Christmas is a reminder to us about the giving spirit that we should show the year around.


While you are finding the spirit, remind yourself and others that it is Christmas - not the holiday season or the holidays or something else.  It’s the day on which we celebrate the birth of the Christ child, thus Christ – mas.  It’s not an American celebration, but a worldwide one.  It’s not an ACLU day whose purpose it is to turn the bottom line for stores from red to black – although it does.  A boost to the world’s economy is just one of the gifts His day gives the world.


While you’re discussing with your children – and some adults – decorations, special food, gifts and the many other things we associate with Christmas, take a moment and the opportunity to share with one another the truth about Christmas - the reason for the season.


Luke 1: 26 – 56, Luke 2: 1-20


From Su and me to you and yours, have a great Christmas!


Copyright © JD Pendry 2005