Stories, one of fun and the other of love

Short Funny Christmas Story 

Just before Christmas, an honest politician, a generous lawyer and Santa Claus got into the lift (elevator) at the Ritz Hotel in London. As the lift travelled from the 5th floor down to the ground level, one-by-one they noticed a £50 note lying on the lift’s floor.

Which one picked up the £50 note, and handed it in at reception?

Santa of course, the other two don’t actually exist!


Christmas is for love

Author unknown

Christmas is for love. It is for joy, for giving and sharing, for laughter, for reuniting with family and friends, for tinsel and brightly decorated packages. But mostly, Christmas is for love. I had not believed this until a small elf-like student with wide-eyed innocent eyes and soft rosy cheeks gave me a wondrous gift one Christmas.

Mark was an 11 year old orphan who lived with his aunt, a bitter middle aged woman greatly annoyed with the burden of caring for her dead sister’s son. She never failed to remind young Mark, if it hadn’t been for her generosity, he would be a vagrant, homeless waif. Still, with all the scolding and chilliness at home, he was a sweet and gentle child.

I had not noticed Mark particularly until he began staying after class each day (at the risk of arousing his aunt’s anger, I later found) to help me straighten up the room. We did this quietly and comfortably, not speaking much, but enjoying the solitude of that hour of the day. When we did talk, Mark spoke mostly of his mother. Though he was quite small when she died, he remembered a kind, gentle, loving woman, who always spent much time with him.

As Christmas drew near however, Mark failed to stay after school each day. I looked forward to his coming, and when the days passed and he continued to scamper hurriedly from the room after class, I stopped him one afternoon and asked why he no longer helped me in the room. I told him how I had missed him, and his large gray eyes lit up eagerly as he replied, “Did you really miss me?”

I explained how he had been my best helper. “I was making you a surprise,” he whispered confidentially. “It’s for Christmas.” With that, he became embarrassed and dashed from the room. He didn’t stay after school any more after that.

Finally came the last school day before Christmas. Mark crept slowly into the room late that afternoon with his hands concealing something behind his back. “I have your present,” he said timidly when I looked up. “I hope you like it.” He held out his hands, and there lying in his small palms was a tiny wooden box.

“Its beautiful, Mark. Is there something in it?” I asked opening the top to look inside. ”

“Oh you can’t see what’s in it,” He replied, “and you can’t touch it, or taste it or feel it, but mother always said it makes you feel good all the time, warm on cold nights, and safe when you’re all alone.”

I gazed into the empty box. “What is it Mark,” I asked gently, “that will make me feel so good?” “It’s love,” he whispered softly, “and mother always said it’s best when you give it away.” And he turned and quietly left the room.

So now I keep a small box crudely made of scraps of wood on the piano in my living room and only smile as inquiring friends raise quizzical eyebrows when I explain to them that there is love in it.

Yes, Christmas is for gaiety, mirth and song, for good and wondrous gifts. But mostly, Christmas is for love.

The “W” in Christmas                                                      
                                                                           
Last December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience.   I had cut back on nonessential obligations – extensive card writing, endless baking, decorating, and even overspending. Yet still, I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family moments, and of course, the true meaning of Christmas.       
     
My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting season for a six year old. For weeks, he’d been memorizing songs for his school’s “Winter Pageant.”  I didn’t have the heart to tell him I’d be working the night of the production. Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his teacher.  She assured me there’d be a dress rehearsal the morning of the presentation.  All parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then.  Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise. 
                 
So, the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in ten minutes early,  found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down. Around the room, I saw  several other parents quietly scampering to their seats. As I waited, students were led into the room. Each class, accompanied by their teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor. Then, each group, one by one, rose to perform their song. Because the public school system had long stopped referring to the holiday as “Christmas,” I didn’t expect anything other than fun, commercial    entertainment – songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes and good cheer.

So, when my son’s class rose to sing, “Christmas Love,” I was slightly taken aback by its bold title. Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens, red sweaters, and bright snowcaps upon their heads.  Those in the front row- center stage – held up large letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song. As the class would sing “C is for Christmas,” a child would hold up the  letter C. Then, “H is for Happy,” and on and on, until each child holding up his portion had presented the complete message, “Christmas Love.” 

The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her; a small, quiet, girl in the front row holding the letter “M” upside down –  totally unaware her letter “M” appeared as a “W”.  The audience of 1st through 6th graders snickered at this little one’s mistake. But she had no idea they were laughing at her, so she stood tall, proudly holding her “W”.  Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter continued until the last letter was raised, and we all saw it together.  A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen. In that instant, we understood the reason we were there, why we celebrated the holiday in the first place, why even in the chaos, there was a purpose for our  festivities. For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear: 

C H R I S T   W A S   L O V E”  
  
And, I believe, He still is.





When one closes…

“…another door opens”. We’ve heard this saying at least once in our lifetime told by those that have walked our path alongside us before this current time; and spoke to those that follow or walk beside us in the meantime.

Garden gate

A door “is a moveable barrier used to cover an opening …to give access and closed more or less securely using a combination of latches and locks. Doors are nearly universal in buildings of all kinds, allowing passage between the inside and outside, and between internal rooms. Doors are often symbolically endowed with ritual purposes, and the guarding or receiving of the keys to a door, or being granted access to a door can have special significance.” (from Wikipedia)

I like old batter drenched with history doors. They talk silently with its texture, the obscure grooves that define its contours, the fresh coat of paint gleaming with it glossiness screaming its untold past of old and the people that have caressed its rusty handle. Known by many different names for its design and purpose, a door is universal and known by everyone. But everyone has a different one in front of them waiting to be open or close.

Flora Whittemore said “The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live”.

Room at El Morro

I’m in search of doors, to open and to close. For the ones that will be closed, I lay to rest the finish business that dragged me to despair, to anger, to be a less human being, to deny myself of being better and having better. Others I’ll close to come back to them again in some near future when I’m a stronger soul and can face what waits behind. Most of them I close for the experiences have granted me wisdom in order to open new ones. A few have been locked forever not closed; I gaze upon them with sadness, whispering in my thoughts what if.

For this, to decide the kind of life I want to live, I’ve become “an opener of doors”, my doors, as Ralph Waldo Emerson suggested. Well, the doors of my kids most be held open, until they can rely on themselves to do this task with confidence. I’ll open them not with fear or uncertainty of what lurks behind, but with head held high and eyes staring at the sky above thanking for the blessing of each day. I’m growing internally with just this simple action, molding myself into a better human being, slowly but surely.

Fort door

Nothing to fear, even thou the shadow of uncertainty is near, for as J.R.R. Tolkien wrote in “Three Is Company,” from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring: “’It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,’ he used to say.  ‘You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to’.”  So here I go to follow the road full of words that waits me, which I make step by step shaping what’s to come in the horizon. Wish me luck, there are doors to be open in those places!

“When our eyes see our hands doing the work of our hearts, the circle of Creation is completed inside us, the doors of our souls fly open, and love steps forth to heal everything in sight.”, Michael Bridge.

What door waits to be open or close by you?

(You might enjoy “The door in front of me”, something I wrote not long ago, when my years where less and a writer was growing.)


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