Saturday, December 25, 2004


Just wanted to share this story.........ENJOY and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!



Three years ago, a little boy and his grandmother came to see Santa at
Mayfair Mall in Wisconsin. The child climbed up on his lap, holding a
picture of a little girl. "Who is this?" asked Santa, smiling. "Your
friend? Your sister?"
"Yes, Santa," he replied. "My sister, Sarah, who is very sick," he said
Santa glanced over at the grandmother who was waiting nearby, and saw
her dabbing her eyes with a tissue.
"She wanted to come with me to see you, oh, so very much, Santa!" the
child exclaimed. "She misses you," he added softly. Santa tried to be
cheerful and encouraged a smile to the boy's face, asking him what he
wanted Santa to bring him for Christmas.
When they finished their visit, the Grandmother came over to help the
child off his lap, and started to say something to Santa, but halted.
"What is it?" Santa asked warmly. "Well, I know it's really too much to
ask you, Santa, but ..." the old woman began, shooing her grandson over
to one of Santa's elves to collect the little gift which Santa gave all
his young visitors. "The girl in the photograph ... my granddaughter ...
well, you see ... she has leukemia and isn't expected to make it even
through the holidays," she said through tear-filled eyes. "Is there any
way, Santa ... any possible way that you could come see Sarah? That's
all she's asked for, for Christmas, is to see Santa."  Santa blinked
and swallowed hard and told the woman to leave information with his
elves as to where Sarah was, and he would see what he could do.  Santa
thought of little else the rest of that afternoon. He knew what he had
to do. "What if it were MY child lying in that hospital bed, dying," he
thought with a sinking heart, "this is the least I can do."
When Santa finished visiting with all the boys and girls that evening,
he retrieved from his helper the name of the hospital where Sarah was
staying.  He asked the assistant location manager how to get to
Children's Hospital.  "Why?" Rick asked, with a puzzled look on his
face. Santa relayed to him the conversation with Sarah's grandmother
earlier that day. "C'mon .... I'll take you there," Rick said softly.
Rick drove them to the hospital and came inside with Santa. They found
out which room Sarah was in. A pale Rick said he would wait out in the
hall.  Santa quietly peeked into the room through the half-closed door
and saw little Sarah on the bed. The room was full of what appeared to
be her family; there was the Grandmother and the girl's brother he had
met earlier that  day. A woman whom he guessed was Sarah's mother
stood by the bed, gently pushing Sarah's thin hair off her forehead. And
another woman who he discovered later was Sarah's aunt, sat in a chair
near the bed with weary, sad look on her face.  They were talking
quietly, and Santa could sense the warmth and closeness of the family,
and their love and concern for Sarah.
Taking a deep breath, and forcing a smile on his face, Santa entered the
room, bellowing a hearty, "Ho, ho, ho!" "Santa!" shrieked little Sarah
weakly, as she tried to escape her bed to run to him, IV tubes in tact.
Santa rushed to her side and gave her a warm hug. A child the tender age
of his own son -- 9 years old -- gazed up at him with wonder and
excitement. Her skin was pale and her short tresses bore telltale bald
patches from the effects of chemotherapy.  But all he saw when he
looked at her was a pair of huge, blue eyes. His heart melted, and he
had to force himself to choke back tears. Though his eyes were riveted
upon Sarah's face, he could hear the gasps and quiet sobbing of the
women in the room. As he and Sarah began talking, the family crept
quietly to the bedside one by one, squeezing Santa's shoulder or his
hand gratefully, whispering "thank you" as they gazed sincerely at him
with shining eyes.  Santa and Sarah talked and talked, and she told
him excitedly all the toys she wanted for Christmas, assuring him she'd
been a very good girl that year. As their time together dwindled, Santa
felt led in his spirit to pray for Sarah,  and asked for permission
from the girl's mother. She nodded in agreement and the entire family
circled around Sarah's bed, holding hands. Santa looked intensely at
Sarah and asked her if she believed in angels. "Oh, yes, Santa ... I
do!" she exclaimed. "Well, I'm going to ask that angels watch over
you,"he said. Laying one hand on the child's head, Santa closed his eyes
and prayed. He asked that God touch little Sarah, and heal her body from
this disease. He asked that angels minister to her, watch and keep
her.  And when he finished praying, still with eyes closed, he started
singing softly, "Silent Night, Holy Night .... all is calm, all is
bright." The family joined in, still holding hands, smiling at Sarah,
and crying tears of hope, tears of joy for this moment, as Sarah beamed
at them all.  When the song ended, Santa sat on the side of the bed
again and held Sarah's frail, small hands in his own. "Now, Sarah," he
said authoritatively, "you have a job to do, and that is to concentrate
on getting well. I want you to have fun playing with your friends this
summer, and I expect to see you at my house at Mayfair Mall this time
next year!" He knew it was risky proclaiming that, to this little
girl  who had terminal cancer, but he "had" to. He had to give her the
greatest gift he could -- not dolls or games or toys -- but the gift of
HOPE. "Yes, Santa!" Sarah exclaimed, her eyes bright. He leaned down and
kissed her on the forehead and left the room.  Out in the hall, the
minute Santa's eyes met Rick's, a look passed between them and they wept
unashamed. Sarah's mother and grandmother slipped out of the room
quickly and rushed to Santa's side to thank him. "My only child is the
same age as Sarah," he explained quietly. "This is the least I could
do."  They nodded with understanding and hugged him. One year later,
Santa Mark was again back on the set in Milwaukee for his six-week,
seasonal job which he so loves to do. Several weeks went by and then one
day a child came up to sit on his lap. "Hi, Santa! Remember me?!"
"Of course, I do," Santa proclaimed (as he always does), smiling down at
After all, the secret to being a "good" Santa is to always make each
child feel as if they are the "only" child in the world at that moment.
"You came to see me in the hospital last year!" Santa's jaw dropped.
Tears immediately sprang in his eyes, and he grabbed this little miracle
and held her to his chest.  "Sarah!" he exclaimed. He scarcely
recognized her, for her hair was long and silky and her cheeks were rosy
-- muchdifferent from the little girl he had visited just a year
before. He looked over and saw Sarah's mother and grandmother in the
sidelines smiling and waving and wiping their eyes. That was the best
Christmas ever for Santa Claus. He had witnessed --and been blessed to
be instrumental in bringing about -- this miracle of hope.  This
precious little child was healed. Cancer-free. Alive and well. He
silently looked up to Heaven and humbly whispered, "Thank you, Father.
'Tis a very, Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2004





 A Christmas Story to Remember  

Pa never had much compassion for the lazy or those who squandered their means and then never had enough for the necessities. But for those who were genuinely in need, his heart was as big as all outdoors. It was from him that I learned the greatest joy in life comes from giving, not from receiving.

It was Christmas Eve 1881. I was fifteen years old and feeling like the world had caved in on me because there just hadn't been enough money to buy me the rifle that I'd wanted for Christmas. We did the chores early that night for some reason. I just figured Pa wanted a little extra time so we could read in the Bible.

After supper was over I took my boots off and stretched out in front of the fireplace and waited for Pa to get down the old Bible. I was still feeling sorry for myself and, to be honest, I wasn't in much of a mood to read Scriptures. But Pa didn't get the Bible; instead he bundled up again and went outside. I couldn't figure it out because we had already done all the chores. I didn't worry about it long though; I was too busy wallowing in self-pity.

Soon Pa came back in. It was a cold clear night out and there was ice in his beard. "Come on, Matt," he said. "Bundle up good, it's cold out tonight." I was really upset then. Not only wasn't I getting the rifle for Christmas, now Pa was dragging me out in the cold, and for no earthly reason that I could see. We'd already done all the chores, and I couldn't think of anything else that needed doing, especially not on a night like this.

But I knew Pa was not very patient at one dragging one's feet when he'd told them to do something, so I got up and put my boots back on and got my cap, coat, and mittens. Ma gave me a mysterious smile as I opened the door to leave the house. Something was up, but I didn't know what.

Outside, I became even more dismayed. There in front of the house was the work team, already hitched to the big sled. Whatever it was we were going to do wasn't going to be a short, quick, little job. I could tell. We never hitched up this sled unless we were going to haul a big load.

Pa was already up on the seat, reins in hand. I reluctantly climbed up beside him. The cold was already biting at me. I wasn't happy. When I was on, Pa pulled the sled around the house and stopped in front of the woodshed. He got off and I followed. "I think we'll put on the high sideboards," he said. "Here, help me." The high sideboards! It had been a bigger job than I wanted to do with just the low sideboards on, but whatever it was we were going to do would be a lot bigger with the high sideboards on.

After we had exchanged the sideboards, Pa went into the woodshed and came out with an armload of wood---the wood I'd spent all summer hauling down from the mountain, and then all Fall sawing into blocks and splitting. What was he doing? Finally I said something. "Pa," I asked, "what are you doing?" You been by the Widow Jensen's lately?" he asked. The Widow Jensen lived about two miles down the road. Her husband had died a year or so before and left her with three children, the oldest being eight. Sure, I'd been by, but so what? "Yeah," I said, "Why?" "I rode by just today," Pa said. "Little Jakey was out digging around in the woodpile trying to find a few chips. They're out of wood, Matt."

That was all he said and then he turned and went back into the woodshed for another armload of wood. I followed him. We loaded the sled so high that I began to wonder if the horses would be able to pull it. Finally, Pa called a halt to our loading, then we went to the smoke house and Pa took down a big ham and a side of bacon. He handed them to me and told me to put them in the sled and wait.

When he returned he was carrying a sack of flour over his right shoulder and a smaller sack of something in his left hand. "What's in the little sack?" I asked. "Shoes. They're out of shoes. Little Jakey just had gunnysacks wrapped around his feet when he was out in the woodpile this morning. I got the children a little candy too. It just wouldn't be Christmas without a little candy."

We rode the two miles to Widow Jensen's pretty much in silence. I tried to think through what Pa was doing.We didn't have much by worldly standards. Of course, we did have a big woodpile, though most of what was left now was still in the form of logs that I would have to saw into blocks and split before we could use it. We also had meat and flour, so we could spare that, but I knew we didn't have any money, so why was Pa buying them shoes and candy?

Really, why was he doing any of this? Widow Jensen had closer neighbors than us; it shouldn't have been our concern. We came in from the blind side of the Jensen house and unloaded the wood as quietly as possible, and then we took the meat and flour and shoes to the door. We knocked. The door opened a crack and a timid voice said, "Who is it?" "Lucas Miles, Ma'am, and my son, Matt. Could we come in for a bit?"

Widow Jensen opened the door and let us in. She had a blanket wrapped around her shoulders. The children were wrapped in another and were sitting in front of the fireplace by a very small fire that hardly gave off any heat at all. Widow Jensen fumbled with a match and finally lit the lamp. "We brought you a few things, Ma'am," Pa said and set down the sack of flour. I put the meat on the table. Then Pa handed her the sack that had the shoes in it.

She opened it hesitantly and took the shoes out one pair at a time. There was a pair for her and one for each of the children---sturdy shoes, the best, shoes that would last. I watched her carefully. She bit her lower lip to keep it from trembling and then tears filled her eyes and started running down her cheeks. She looked up at Pa like she wanted to say something, but it wouldn't come out.

"We brought a load of wood too, Ma'am," Pa said. He turned to me and said, "Matt, go bring in enough to last awhile. Let's get that fire up to size and heat this place up." I wasn't the same person when I went back out to bring in the wood. I had a big lump in my throat and as much as I hate to admit it, there were tears in my eyes too.

In my mind I kept seeing those three kids huddled around the fireplace and their mother standing there with tears running down her cheeks with so much gratitude in her heart that she couldn't speak. My heart swelled within me and a joy that I'd never known before, filled my soul. I had given at Christmas many times before, but never when it had made so much difference. I could see we were literally saving the lives of these people.

I soon had the fire blazing and everyone's spirits soared. The kidsstarted giggling when Pa handed them each a piece of candy and Widow Jensen looked on with a smile that probably hadn't crossed her face for a long time. She finally turned to us. "God bless you," she said. "I know the Lord has sent you. The children and I have been praying that he would send one of his angels to spare us."

In spite of myself, the lump returned to my throat and the tears welled up in my eyes again. I'd never thought of Pa in those exact terms before, but after Widow Jensen mentioned it I could see that it was probably true. I was sure that a better man than Pa had never walked the earth. I started remembering all the times he had gone out of his way for Ma and me, and many others. The list seemed endless as I thought on it.

Pa insisted that everyone try on the shoes before we left. I was amazed when they all fit and I wondered how he had known what sizes to get. Then I guessed that if he was on an errand for the Lord that the Lord would make sure he got the right sizes.

Tears were running down Widow Jensen's face again when we stood up to leave. Pa took each of the kids in his big arms and gave them a hug. They clung to him and didn't want us to go. I could see that they missed their Pa, and I was glad that I still had mine.

At the door Pa turned to Widow Jensen and said, "The Mrs. wanted me to invite you and the children over for Christmas dinner tomorrow. The turkey will be more than the three of us can eat, and a man can get cantankerous if he has to eat turkey for too many meals. We'll be by to get you about eleven. It'll be nice to have some little ones around again. Matt, here, hasn't been little for quite a spell." I was the youngest. My two brothers and two sisters had all married and had moved away. Widow Jensen nodded and said, "Thank you, Brother Miles. I don't have to say, "'May the Lord bless you,' I know for certain that He will."

Out on the sled I felt a warmth that came from deep within and I didn't even notice the cold. When we had gone a ways, Pa turned to me and said, "Matt, I want you to know something. Your ma and me have been tucking a little money away here and there all year so we could buy that rifle for you, but we didn't have quite enough.

Then yesterday a man who owed me a little money from years back came by to make things square. Your ma and me were real excited, thinking that now we could get you that rifle, and I started into town this morning to do just that. But on the way I saw little Jakey out scratching in the woodpile with his feet wrapped in those gunnysacks and I knew what I had to do. Son, I spent the money for shoes and a little candy for those children. I hope you understand."

I understood, and my eyes became wet with tears again. I understood very well, and I was so glad Pa had done it. Now the rifle seemed very low on my list of priorities. Pa had given me a lot more. He had given me the look on Widow Jensen's face and the radiant smiles of her three children.

For the rest of my life, whenever I saw any of the Jensens, or split a block of wood, I remembered, and remembering brought back that same joy I felt riding home beside Pa that night. Pa had given me much more than a rifle that night; he had given me the best Christmas of my life.

Don't be too busy today...


I would like to wish you and yours a very BLESSED and JOYOUS CHRISTMAS...and a PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004


I remember my first Christmas party with Grandma.   I was just a kid.  I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: "There is no Santa Claus," she jeered  "Even dummies know that!"
My grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been.  I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me.  I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her world-famous cinnamon buns.  Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm.  Between bites I told her everything.  She was ready for me.
"No Santa Claus!" she snorted.  "Ridiculous!  Don't believe it That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad.  Now, put on your coat, and let's go."
"Go?  Go where, Grandma?" I asked.  I hadn't even finished my second cinnamon bun.
"Where" turned out to be Kerby's General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything.  As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars.  That was a bundle in those days.
'Take this money," she said, "and buy something for someone who needs it.  I'll wait for you in the car." Then she turned and walked out of Kerby's.
I was only eight years old.  I'd often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself.  The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping.  For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for.  I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, the people who went to my church.  I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobbie Decker.
He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs.  Pollock's grade-two class.
Bobbie Decker didn't have a coat.  I knew that because he never went out for recess during the winter.  His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all we kids knew that Bobbie Decker didn't have a cough, and he didn't have a coat.  I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement.  I would buy Bobbie Decker a coat.  I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it.  It looked real warm, and he would like that.
"Is this a Christmas present for someone?" the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down.
"Yes, "I replied shyly.  "It's ...  for Bobbie."
The nice lady smiled at me.  I didn't get any change, but she put the coat in a bag and wished me a Merry Christmas.
That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat in Christmas paper and ribbons, and write, "To Bobbie, From Santa Claus" on it -- Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy.  Then she drove me over to Bobbie Decker's house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially one of Santa's helpers.  Grandma parked down the street from Bobbie's house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk.
Then Grandma gave me a nudge.  "All right, Santa Claus", she whispered, "get going." I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his doorbell and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma.
Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open.  Finally it did, and there stood Bobbie.
Forty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my grandma, in Bobbie Decker's bushes.  That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were: ridiculous.  Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004


          I knelt to pray but not for long, I had too much to do. I had to hurry and get to work For bills would soon be due. So! I knelt and said a hurried prayer, And jumped up off my knees. My Christian duty was now done My soul could rest at ease..... All day long I had no time To spread a word of cheer No time to speak of Christ to friends, They'd laugh at me I'd fear. No time, no time, too much to do, That was my constant cry, No time to give to souls in need But at last the time, the time to die. I went before the Lord, I came, I stood with downcast eyes. For in his hands God held a book; It was the book of life. God looked into his book and said "Your name I cannot find. I once was going to write it down... But never found the time"

Saturday, December 18, 2004







  You Must Keep Going

Sometimes you must keep going.

Life punches you in the stomach.
It knocks your breath out and leaves you bowed and gasping.

You lose a job. . . you must keep going.

You find out you have a serious illness. . .you must keep going.

You have a headache. . . you must keep going.

Sometimes the things in life are not serious but they affect you
nevertheless. . . you must keep going.

You have a big argument with your spouse.
Neither of you feels like talking and maybe not even looking at
each other. . . you must keep going.

Your son rebels and you have a blowout with him. . .
you must keep going.

The bills seem to never end and the money seems to never start.

You must keep going.

There are times that make us just want to curl up, stick our
heads in a hole, and make the world go away.

We can't, because we must keep going.

Life is full of those circumstances.

Many of you when you woke up this morning, for a variety of
reasons, didn't feel like getting out of bed, but you had to.

You must keep going.

In times like those, and we all have them,
remember the blessing.

The blessing is not in that we must keep going.

The blessing is that we can.

~A MountainWings Original~

Thursday, December 16, 2004









Why is Jesus Better than Santa Claus?

Santa lives at the North Pole ...
JESUS is everywhere.

Santa rides in a sleigh ..
. JESUS rides on the wind and walks on the water.

Santa comes but once a year ...
JESUS is an ever present help.

Santa fills your stockings with goodies ...
JESUS supplies all your needs.

Santa comes down your chimney uninvited ...
JESUS stands at your door and knocks,
and then enters your heart when invited.

You have to wait in line to see Santa ...
JESUS is as close as the mention of His name.

Santa lets you sit on his lap ...
JESUS lets you rest in His arms.

Santa doesn't know your name, all he can say is
"Hi little boy or girl, what's your name?" ...
JESUS knew our name before we were born...
Not only does He know our name,
He knows our address too.
He knows our history and future and
He even knows how many hairs are on our heads.

Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly ...
JESUS has a heart full of love All Santa can offer is HO HO HO ...

JESUS offers health, help and hope.
Santa says "You better not cry" ...

JESUS says "Cast all your cares on me for I care for you."
Santa's little helpers make toys ...

JESUS makes new life, mends wounded hearts,
repairs broken homes and builds mansions.

Santa may make you chuckle but ...
JESUS gives you joy that is your strength.

While Santa puts gifts under your tree ...
JESUS became our gift and died on a tree....
The cross.

Put Christ Back In Christmas...
Jesus Is Still The Reason For The Season!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004




"Eleven Hints for Life"

1. It hurts to love someone and not be loved in return.
But what is more painful is to love someone and never
find the courage to let that person know how you feel.

2. A sad thing in life is when you meet someone who
means a lot to you, only to find out in the end that it was
never meant to be and you just have to let go.

3. The best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on a
porch swing with, never say a word, and then walk away
feeling like it was the best conversation you've ever had.

4. It's true that we don't know what we've got until we lose
it, but it's also true that we don't know what we've been
missing until it arrives.

5. It takes only a minute to get a crush on someone, an
hour to like someone, and a day to love someone-but it
takes a lifetime to forget someone.

6. Don't go for looks, they can deceive.  Don't go for wealth,
even that fades away.  Go for someone who makes you
smile because it takes only a smile to make a dark day
seem bright.

7. Dream what you want to dream, go where you want to go,
be what you want to be.  Because you have only one life and
one chance to do all the things you want to do.

8. Always put yourself in the other's shoes. If you feel that it
hurts you, it probably hurts the person too.

9. A careless word may kindle strife.  A cruel word may wreck
a life. A timely word may level stress.  But a loving word may
heal and bless.

10. The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best
of everything they just make the most of everything that comes
along their way.

11. Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss, ends with
a tear.  When you were born, you were crying and everyone
around you was smiling.  Live your life so that when you die,
you're the one smiling and everyone around you is crying.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004


If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.

Happy moments, praise God.

Difficult moments, seek God.

Quiet moments, worship God.

Painful moments, trust God.

Every moment, thank God.

Monday, December 13, 2004









 Just One

One song can spark a moment
One flower can wake the dream
One tree can start a forest
One bird can herald spring
One smile begins a friendship
One handclasp lifts a soul
One star can guide a ship at sea
One word can frame the goal
One vote can change a nation
One sunbeam lights a room
One candle wipes out darkness
One laugh will conquer gloom
One step must start each journey
One word must start a prayer
One hope will raise our spirits
One touch can show you care
One voice can speak with wisdom
One heart can know what is true
One life can make a difference

~Author Unknown ~ 


"Life may not be the party we hoped for ... but while we are here we might as well dance!" 


Saturday, December 11, 2004


                      Seasons Greetings from Mrs. Claus
There is so much to do this time of year that quiet moments are rare. After a long day of preparing for and participating in our annual Christmas Feast and Caroling Party (with the help of some of our more culinary and musical elves and fairies), one hopes only for the comfort of a steaming cup of cider and a long winter's nap. But as I lay awake last night relishing the silence, my turkey-filled husband snoring softly at my side, I glanced out the window as a brilliant star shot from the sky.

Now shooting stars aren't at all uncommon during a North Pole winter. Although the sky is often filled with clouds or swirling snow, clear skies are also experienced. And when the blizzards subside and the clouds part, falling stars are often sighted during our many dark hours, especially by the elves in charge of the sled-dogs and reindeer stables.

However, several things occurred to me when I saw that falling burst of light, which after the exhaustion of such a full day, filled me with a much needed dose of Christmas spirit. They aren't profound, or even unique. And I suppose they aren't politically correct. But then I wasn't raised in the modern world where people are so afraid of offending someone, they seldom reveal their beliefs.

Long ago, a brilliant star (probably much brighter than the one I saw) signified the birth of a tiny babe who came to be the light of the world. But unlike my falling star, who's light went out forever, the light that was his love lives on.

And although Santa is too private to speak of it, it's that light and love which motivates everything we do. It surrounds us and fills us and blesses us with lives so full and rich with the spirit of Christmas that each day is abundant with the endless joy of giving.

Many say that Santa Claus is a secular being. Santa and I only chuckle at the notion. When you think about it, the concept is absurd. How can someone who spends every waking moment in the service of others not be connected to the source of love that inspires all he does?

I realize not everyone believes in the same source. And, of course, we deeply love, respect and happily serve all, regardless of their beliefs. I guess I just thought it was time to let some people out there know there are two old folks living at the North Pole who are in the Christmas business for a reason-the "reason for the season".

Merry Christmas With Love,

Mrs. Claus

Sunday, December 5, 2004




The Color of Christmas Joy
By Julie Ann Miller

My childhood memories of kindergarten consist of several things: cold concrete walls, little coats and boots, pencils which didn't fit in the hand, lined paper, desks, a blackboard and the alphabet in black and white.

Recess only meant that I had to be outside, dressed in coat and hat. Aimlessly, I circled the school grounds while children around me played.

Years later, my mother told me that she went to my teacher with the question, "Tell me what is going on at school? My daughter was a happy kid, until I sent her to school. She's depressed and I don't know why."

The teacher was as dumbfounded as my mother. She said that I seemed well enough at school. Perhaps the child is tired? Does she eat well? Does she sleep?

Maybe the truth lay somewhere in between. My bedroom always seemed chilled and silent until mother stepped through the door. The warmth of her smile lit into my heart. She would sit on my bed and kiss me goodnight. Long after her goodnight kiss, I would lie awake, staring at the ceiling as I hugged my doll. If only the morning would come and I could be somewhere other than school! What had I said to mother, so many times, when she'd asked me? "They don't like me." It was all I knew. It was all I could understand.

The winter turned colder as Christmas approached. A week of school still remained before the holiday break. I awoke one morning to my mother's voice. Through blurry eyes I looked up at her. She was telling me to get dressed. Pulling my clothes on, I looked out the window. How could it be time to go to school? The sky was still dark. I stared down at the fresh layers of snow covering our lawn.

"You don't have to go to school today," mother announced as she tied the hat strings under my chin. "You're going to see Santa today." My heart leaped with joy at her words! This day belonged to my mother and me!

We took the morning train to Detroit. I stood at the window of the train, drinking in every sight. Christmas lights, brightly decorated wreaths swaying in the wind and street lamps glittered under the half light of the morning sky. Mother sat beside me, her hand against my back, as the train chugged down the track.

Whenever I hear the expression, "seeing Christmas through the eyes of a child," I remember that day. As mother led me into the J.L. Hudson store, the world transformed to my size; like magic seeds which sprouted and grew a dream into a reality, a place of make-believe suddenly was there before my eyes. I could touch my hand to anything I could see. It was all there, within my reach: every decoration, every toy and every colorful, delicious looking piece of candy. Christmas songs filled the air and many of the movable toys seemed to bounce in time with the music. Children rushed past me in all directions. Some ran to the toy trains, some to the Christmas trees from which dangled candy canes, while others rushed to the red playhouse. Outside of that house, sat Santa Claus. "Ho! Ho! Ho!" he called out. With a white gloved hand, he beckoned me. The delightful sound of sleigh bells was in the air, accompanied by Santa's hearty laugh. He called out to his reindeer, proudly lined up and there waiting at his side. With my heart at the bursting point, I turned to look at my mother. She stood outside of the room, looking in. I wanted her to share this experience. I wanted her to get a look at me as I wandered joyfully through this children's wonderland.

As summer arrived, the school year drew to a close. Books were packed up and desks emptied out. As the silence closed in around the schoolyard, my mother, once again, came to see my teacher. The teacher sat before my mother sobbing; words were difficult, but she tried to explain. "I didn't want to work. I never wanted to teach. I was forced into it. I singled your daughter out and took the frustration out on her."

When I grew up, I came to understand that the human heart has its limits when it comes to harsh disappointment. As adults, we don't always respond in the way we might hope.

What I took from that year though was not the misfortune of an unsettling beginning, but the gift of a single beautiful day.