Let’s just say that the weeks leading up to Christmas break could have been managed just a bit better on my part. There were too many early mornings, late nights and Saturdays devoted to gettin’ it done at school. Why that is… I don’t know. My students would suggest less work for them would mean less work for me. Hmmmmm …
One thing I do know is that the “Christmas Story (or two) of the Day” provided a brief enjoyable respite for me. I read. The kids listened. No homework for them, no papers to correct for me. Not much planning either.
So I read about Mrs. Radmaster and her way of teaching about the true meaning of things, like Christmas. In another story there were the Sheppards, two nosey old sisters, and in another tale, Agnes and her rock in a manger. Then there were Goldie, Frank an Murrey, the ‘wise ones.’ Davis B and Marion Bright…. On and on, almost daily, I read some old thing that I had written long ago.
On the last day of the last week before Christmas break I read them a story written by another author. As I read, I noticed I had goosebumps and my voice developed a bit of that husky, phlegmmy quality not because of congestion, but because of the emotion the story generated, probably more so because of the time I spent in Bethlehem this summer. I realized that my stories paled in comparison to this one. Its deep rich meaning made my stories seem sappy at best, in comparison. I think the kids figured it out, too, as I read the greatest Christmas story ever. It went like this….
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.”
The Gospel of Luke Chapter Two