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A Christmas Story

Posted by Sheila S on 12/21/02 at 06:11 (103679)

Suzanne & Richard, this was sent to me and I thought it was just lovely. You might enjoy too =)

The 'W' in Christmas

Each 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, the 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:
'CHRISTWAS LOVE' And, I believe, He still is.

Re: A Christmas Story

Suzanne D on 12/21/02 at 12:52 (103698)

Sheila, that's a beautiful story; thanks for sharing it with us!

I have been 'in over my head' with our move to the new school this past week and regular Christmas time activities and haven't had a chance to read the board for the past few days. I missed the whole 'Food for thought' thread and don't know if I'll get to it for awhile, but your 'Christmas Story' topic intrigued me, and I read it just now.

I wish for you and everyone who reads here a peaceful and happy holiday season!

For those who have been following my move, my things were moved out Monday afternoon. I worked about 9 hours in my new room in the afternoons after the regular school day. Yesterday ~ our last day before the break ~ our children were taken on buses to the new school where we took a tour of the building and ate sack lunches in the gym where we also sang Christmas songs and had a visit from Santa. My children were rather overwhelmed, but when we got to go in our classroom, I shut the door and told them, 'Now, see, when we shut the door, it's still just 'us'. It is a bigger building, and everything is new, but it is still just us in this room together. We took new name tags for the new desks, and everyone got to be seated and see their new name on the desk. Hopefully that will allay some fears for the first day back.

That was off the subject of your story (sorry!), but I just wanted to touch base with everyone here today.

Thanks again,
Suzanne :-)

Re: A Christmas Story

Kathy G on 12/22/02 at 09:44 (103734)

Sheila,

What a delightful story! I never hear about a Christmas play without remembering the Christmas that my mother was in the hospital with pneumonia and I stayed home from high school to attend my sister's Christmas play, since my Dad couldn't get the time off. I was barely sixteen and she was eight. I can remember being embarrassed at being moved, to the point of tears, at the performance. I seldom cry and am not given to public displays of emotion. Then I looked around and realized that all the mothers and fathers had tears in their eyes. It was probably the first inkling I had of what it felt like to be a mother. It's truly special!

Thanks for sharing with us.

Re: A Christmas Story

Suzanne D on 12/21/02 at 12:52 (103698)

Sheila, that's a beautiful story; thanks for sharing it with us!

I have been 'in over my head' with our move to the new school this past week and regular Christmas time activities and haven't had a chance to read the board for the past few days. I missed the whole 'Food for thought' thread and don't know if I'll get to it for awhile, but your 'Christmas Story' topic intrigued me, and I read it just now.

I wish for you and everyone who reads here a peaceful and happy holiday season!

For those who have been following my move, my things were moved out Monday afternoon. I worked about 9 hours in my new room in the afternoons after the regular school day. Yesterday ~ our last day before the break ~ our children were taken on buses to the new school where we took a tour of the building and ate sack lunches in the gym where we also sang Christmas songs and had a visit from Santa. My children were rather overwhelmed, but when we got to go in our classroom, I shut the door and told them, 'Now, see, when we shut the door, it's still just 'us'. It is a bigger building, and everything is new, but it is still just us in this room together. We took new name tags for the new desks, and everyone got to be seated and see their new name on the desk. Hopefully that will allay some fears for the first day back.

That was off the subject of your story (sorry!), but I just wanted to touch base with everyone here today.

Thanks again,
Suzanne :-)

Re: A Christmas Story

Kathy G on 12/22/02 at 09:44 (103734)

Sheila,

What a delightful story! I never hear about a Christmas play without remembering the Christmas that my mother was in the hospital with pneumonia and I stayed home from high school to attend my sister's Christmas play, since my Dad couldn't get the time off. I was barely sixteen and she was eight. I can remember being embarrassed at being moved, to the point of tears, at the performance. I seldom cry and am not given to public displays of emotion. Then I looked around and realized that all the mothers and fathers had tears in their eyes. It was probably the first inkling I had of what it felt like to be a mother. It's truly special!

Thanks for sharing with us.