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WITandWISDOM(tm) - December 24, 1999
No gift is too small to give, nor too simple to receive, if it's chosen with thoughtfulness and given with love. - Unknown
(E-zine: THIS AND THAT Mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org)
~~~~~~~ SPECIAL THOUGHTS:
A RUSSIAN CHRISTMAS STORY - "FOR ALWAYS"
by Will Fish
In 1994, two Americans answered an invitation from the Russian Department of Education to teach morals and ethics (based on biblical principles) in the public schools. They were invited to teach at prisons, businesses, the fire and police departments and a large orphanage. About 100 boys and girls who had been abandoned, abused, and left in the care of a government-run program were in the orphanage. They relate the following story in their own words: "It was nearing the holiday season, 1994, time for our orphans to hear-for the first time-the traditional story of Christmas. We told them about Mary and Joseph arriving in Bethlehem. Finding no room in the inn, the couple went to a stable, where the baby Jesus was born and placed in a manger. Throughout the story, the children and orphanage staff sat in amazement as they listened. Some sat on the edges of their stools, trying to grasp every word.
Completing the story, we gave the children three small pieces of cardboard to make a crude manger. Each child was given a small paper square, cut from yellow napkins I had brought with me. No colored paper was available in the city. Following instructions, the children tore the paper and carefully laid strips in the manger for straw. Small squares of flannel, cut from a worn-out nightgown an American lady was throwing away as she left Russia, were used for the baby's blanket. A doll-like baby was cut from tan felt we had brought from the United States.
The orphans were busy assembling their manger as I walked among them to see if they needed any help. All went well until I got to one table where little Misha sat - he looked to be about 6 years old and had finished his project. As I looked at the little boy's manger, I was startled to see not one, but two babies in the manger.
Quickly, I called for the translator to ask the lad why there were two babies in the manger. Crossing his arms in front of him and looking at his completed manger scene, the child began to repeat the story very seriously. For such a young boy, who had only heard the Christmas story once, he related the happenings accurately - until he came to the part where Mary put the baby Jesus in the manger.
Then Misha started to ad lib. He made up his own ending to the story as he said, "And when Maria laid the baby in the manger, Jesus looked at me and asked me if I had a place to stay. I told him I have no mamma and I have no papa, so I don't have any place to stay. Then Jesus told me I could stay with him. But I told him I couldn't, because I didn't have a gift to give him like everybody else did. But I wanted to stay with Jesus so much, so I thought about what I had that maybe I could use for a gift. I thought maybe if I kept him warm, that would be a good gift. So I asked Jesus, If I keep you warm, will that be a good enough gift?" And Jesus told me, "If you keep me warm, that will be the best gift anybody ever gave me." "So I got into the manger, and then Jesus looked at me and he told me I could stay with him - for always."
As little Misha finished his story, his eyes brimmed full of tears that splashed down his little cheeks. Putting his hand over his face, his head dropped to the table and his shoulders shook as he sobbed and sobbed. The little orphan had found someone who would never abandon nor abuse him, someone who would stay with him - FOR ALWAYS.
(Carol Blum, Dan Swan)
~~~~~~~ THIS & THAT:
- From a toy store: "Ho, ho, ho spoken here."
- In a bridal boutique: "Marry Christmas."
- Outside a church: "The original Christmas Club."
- From a department store: "Big pre-Christmas sale.
Come in and mangle with the crowd."
- In a Texas jewelry store: "Diamond tiaras - $70,000.
Three for $200,000.
- A reducing salon: "24 Shaping Days until Christmas."
- In a stationery store: "For the man who has everything -
a calendar to remind him when payments are due."
(Walker Family via E-zine: BILL'S PUNCH LINE Mailto:bills-punch-line- email@example.com)
~~~~~~~ KEEP SMILING:
T'was the night before Christmas and all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care.
They'd been worn all week and needed the air.
(E-zine: DAILY HUMOR Mailto:Daily-Humor- firstname.lastname@example.org)
"From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England could not practice their faith openly, so they found other ways to pass along their beliefs. "The Twelve Days of Christmas" became a kind of code song in which each of the gift items represented some aspect of their belief. Thus, the song became a way for young Roman Catholics to learn about their religion and to witness to it.
THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
On the _____ day of Christmas MY TRUE LOVE gave to ME:
(The "true love" was, of course, God and the "me" who receives each of these gifts was the Christian.)
a.. The "partridge in the pear tree" was Christ who died on the tree as a gift from God.
b.. The "two turtle doves" were the Old and New Testaments, also gifts.
c.. The "three French hens" were faith, hope and love, the three abiding gifts of the spirit (1 Corinthians 13).
d.. The "four calling birds" were the four Gospels which "sing" of salvation.
e.. The "five gold rings" were the first five books of the Bible.
f.. The "six geese a-laying" were the six days of creation.
g.. The "seven swans a-swimming" were the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:8-11, Romans 12, Ephesians 4, Peter 4:10-11).
h.. The "eight maids a-milking" were the eight beatitudes.
i.. The "nine ladies dancing" were the nine fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)
j.. The "10 lords a-leaping were the Ten Commandments.
k.. The "11 pipers piping" were the 11 faithful disciples.
l.. The "12 drummers drumming" were the points of the Apostles' Creed.
By Ina Hughs with help from Charlie Daniel (no not the singer), from the Knoxville Newspaper
NOTE: "Regarding the "12 days of Christmas", It is dubious at best. See http://www.snopes.com/holidays/xmas/12days.htm - Bob Dillon