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This is a Christmas repost from 2007. I thought about updating and dusting it off, but decided to let it stand, as is.

She was somewhere between thirteen and fifteen years old, and she never used a computer, talked on the phone, or rode in a car. TV would have seemed like witchcraft to her, and an airplane would have inspired sheer terror. She was a sweet, simple, country girl, from a poor working family, who probably never owned more than two dresses or one pair of shoes at a time.

For her, a formal education would have been impractical and out of reach. She learned from her mother how to cook, clean, care for children, and run a home. That was her lot in life and she was content with it. She had won the love of a good man, with a tender heart, and was looking forward to becoming his wife.

She lived during a time when speaking with angels wasn’t unheard of, and wasn’t as likely to get one locked away as it is today. And an angel told this simple, virgin, country girl she was going to have a child, not just any child, but the only begotten Son of God.

No one believed her, at first, but two thousand years later people, who don’t believe any part of the old story, know her name. She is honored in song, and remembered in films. Many of us wonder if we could have borne such a heavy responsibility.

Never think that God can’t use you, because of your lack of education or speaking skills.

1 Corinthians 1:27 “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;”

Never think your past life will hinder His use of you.

2 Corinthians 12:9 ”… for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Never be afraid to step out on faith.

Galatians 3:26 ”For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”

God can and will use you, if your heart is willing.

Most of you have seen this one before, but in the current economy it’s good to remember you don’t need a lot to have a wonderful Christmas.

My favorite Christmas memory is from the year I was ten. My parents, like most people who lived in our area, were having a rough time making ends meet. There were six of us living in a one-bedroom quadplex, with walls so thin my aunt and uncle, who lived upstairs, could hear the percolator making the morning coffee in our kitchen. Two of my younger brothers and I slept in the living room on rollaway beds, while the baby slept in my parent’s room.

We kids never knew how tough or scary things had become, and thought we had the coolest mom on the planet when she let us have popcorn for dinner. It never occurred to us it was the only thing in the house to eat, or that the custard and toast, we loved for breakfast, was served because it was cheap and went a long way.

Shortly after Thanksgiving, Mom started dropping hints that we weren’t going to have much of a Christmas, and there was no way we could afford a tree.

Two weeks before Christmas, Dad brought home a sheet of plywood someone had given him. When we asked what it was for, we simply got a look that said he’d never tell and asking too many questions might be dangerous for one’s behind. Our curious ears listened to the sounds of sawing, hammering and the occasional curse, while speculating among ourselves what he might be building.

The day we got out of school for Christmas break my teacher, who had heard we weren’t able to get a tree, sent the one we’d made for our classroom home with me. It was a five-foot cardboard monstrosity that almost didn’t fit in our car, but once we got it home Mother put a few touches to it, and it looked quite nice sitting in our tiny living room.

Mom has always made Christmas Eve a special time, and that year was no exception. She had put tiny lights around the “tree”, and there was hot cocoa, and marshmallows roasted at the gas space heater. Mom read us Twas The Night Before Christmas and the Christmas story from Luke, then we sang carols to Dad’s version of guitar playing, before hanging our stockings. We always used Dad’s clean socks, and they were hung very carefully, because he needed them back.

Christmas morning arrived, and we raced to our stockings. One would have thought they were full of diamonds and gold the way we acted when we dumped the oranges and hazelnuts out of them, which of course, quickly became breakfast.

Dad slipped outside, and we finally found out what he’d been working on. The first thing he brought in was a rocking horse for the baby. He’d built it so the rowdy little devil couldn’t tip it over, even at his rowdiest. Next he brought in stilts for the two older boys. They were only six inches off the floor, but they became ten-foot tall every time they used them. I waited for my gift, and couldn’t imagine what he could have built me. Then he walked in with a dollhouse that was better than any I had seen in the stores, and I played with it until it fell apart, years later.

Dad found a job in Dallas that next year, and things got better for us. There were always nice gifts under the tree after that, but there are times when I long for oranges, hazel nuts, and homemade gifts.

 

My dad is very ill, and it’s breaking my heart that I can’t get there for Christmas, this year. I will, however, be visiting them in February. Those of you who pray, please send up a small one, for me, that it won’t be too late.

who copied Kathy and Shannon

…because I felt the need for something light.

 

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?  Wrapping paper, because I love getting creative while gift wrapping, and they’re prettier under the tree.

2. Real tree or Artificial? Always real, the cats love climbing in it and chewing on the needles.


3. When do you put up the tree?  The Saturday after Thanksgiving.

4. When do you take the tree down?  The first week of January.

5. Do you like eggnog? Gag!
 
6. Favorite gift received as a child? A doll house my dad built for me.

7. Hardest person to buy for? My youngest step-daughter, she’s a good kid but picky.  

8. Easiest person to buy for?  Hubby.
 
9. Do you have a nativity scene?  Several, I collect them. I hand painted one of them, when we were young and broke, but my favorite is made of olive wood from Jerusalem.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Both. We mail to close family, and email the rest. (Postage is expensive!)

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? A set of pots and pans.
 
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? A Christmas Carol.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?  Early December.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes. Most bath sets make me itchy, so I save them for the girls as “pick me up” gifts through the year.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Coconut Cream Pie. 

16. Lights on the tree?  Tons!

17. Favorite Christmas song? Joy To The World.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Three dogs, three cats, and a bird, we stay home.

19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer’s?  (reindeer?!) Not a chance.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? I found the coolest redneck angel last year…

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? One on Christmas Eve (Christmas PJs for pretty Christmas morning pictures) and the rest on Christmas Day.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?  Grouchy people.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color?  We had a blue, white, and silver tree a few years ago. I’d like to do that again. 

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? See 15

25. What do you want for Christmas this year?  A chance to help someone else.

26.  Who is most likely to respond to this?  One of my three faithful readers.

27.  Who is least likely to respond to this?  Anyone else.

28.  What was your most memorable magical memory from your adulthood?  The day our kids woke to Santa’s foot prints in front of the fire place and a dropped, reindeer chewed carrot.

29.  Have you ever been involved in a Christmas gift prank?  Sent my mother a tin of pistachios with a Pikachu doll sitting in the center. (It’s a long story.)

30. Favorite Christmas cartoon?  The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.

My favorite Christmas memory is from the year I was ten. My parents, like most people who lived in our area, were having a rough time making ends meet. There were six of us living in a one-bedroom quadplex, with walls so thin my aunt and uncle, who lived upstairs, could hear the percolator making the morning coffee in our kitchen. Two of my younger brothers and I slept in the living room on rollaway beds, while the baby slept in my parent’s room.

We kids never knew how tough or scary things had become, and thought we had the coolest mom on the planet when she let us have popcorn for dinner. It never occurred to us it was the only thing in the house to eat, or that the custard and toast, we loved for breakfast, was served because it was cheap and went a long way.

Shortly after Thanksgiving, Mom started dropping hints that we weren’t going to have much of a Christmas, and there was no way we could afford a tree.

Two weeks before Christmas, Dad brought home a sheet of plywood someone had given him. When we asked what it was for, we simply got a look that said he’d never tell and asking too many questions might be dangerous for one’s behind. Our curious ears listened to the sounds of sawing, hammering and the occasional curse, while speculating among ourselves what he might be building.

The day we got out of school for Christmas break my teacher, who had heard we weren’t able to get a tree, sent the one we’d made for our classroom home with me. It was a five-foot cardboard monstrosity that almost didn’t fit in our car, but once we got it home Mother put a few touches to it, and it looked quite nice sitting in our tiny living room.

Mom has always made Christmas Eve a special time, and that year was no exception. She had put tiny lights around the “tree”, and there was hot cocoa, and marshmallows roasted at the gas space heater. Mom read us Twas The Night Before Christmas and the Christmas story from Luke, then we sang carols to Dad’s version of guitar playing, before hanging our stockings. We always used Dad’s clean socks, and they were hung very carefully, because he needed them back.

Christmas morning arrived, and we raced to our stockings. One would have thought they were full of diamonds and gold the way we acted when we dumped the oranges and hazelnuts out of them, which of course, quickly became breakfast.

Dad slipped outside, and we finally found out what he’d been working on. The first thing he brought in was a rocking horse for the baby. He’d built it so the rowdy little devil couldn’t tip it over, even at his rowdiest. Next he brought in stilts for the two older boys. They were only six inches off the floor, but they became ten-foot tall every time they used them. I waited for my gift, and couldn’t imagine what he could have built me. Then he walked in with a dollhouse that was better than any I had seen in the stores, and I played with it until it fell apart, years later.

Dad found a job in Dallas that next year, and things got better for us. There were always nice gifts under the tree after that, but there are times when I long for oranges, hazel nuts, and homemade gifts.