Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas Love

Tonight, as I drove by a large local high school, the sign out front was advertising their upcoming "Winter Concert" and "Winter Break." I felt a sigh escape from my chest. It still breaks my heart when I see how the word "Christmas" has been all but eliminated in public schools. As I continued driving, I was reminded of a beautiful and touching true story I heard several years ago on a local Christian radio station. It's message resonated with me for days...I pray it does the same for you.

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Each December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience. But once again, despite my plans, chaos prevailed. I had cut back on nonessential obligations -- extensive card writing, endless baking, decorating, and yes, even the all American pastime, 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 filled with hopes, dreams and laughter. 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, just as I promised, on the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in 10 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. The melodies were fun, cute and lighthearted, but nowhere to be found was even the hint of an innocent babe, a manger, or Christ’s sacred gift of hope and joy. 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 who was holding the letter "M" upside down. She was entirely unaware, that reversed, her letter "M" appeared as a "W." Fidgeting from side to side, she soon moved entirely away from her mark.

The audience of 1st through 6th graders snickered at the little one's mistake. But in her innocence, she had no idea they were laughing at her as she stood tall, proudly holding her "W".

One can only imagine the difficulty in calming an audience of young, giggling students. 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:


CHRIST WAS LOVE

And, I believe, He still is.


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Christmas Love is a true story written by author Candy Chand. Her new book, Christmas Love is available in stores nationwide and on Amazon. You can email Candy at: PatCan85@hotmail.com

11 comments:

Melanie said...

Oh, my.. what a beautiful story! It gave me goosebumps as I was reading. So very glad you shared this with us today, Tracy!

Shabby Olde Potting Shed said...

Hey Tracy,

THIS SURE FILLED MY SPIRITS TONIGHT! OHMYGOODNESS....
Thanks for sharing this!

I BELIEVE HE STILL IS TOO!
Lea

Michele Williams said...

Each time I read this story it give me chills... Thank you for sharing.

Joyful said...

I had never heard this story before - absolutely beautiful. Christ was and is love. Thanks for sharing His love with us.

Blessings,
Joy

Kristi said...

Wow! What a story! Thank you for sharing this today and I just love your new blog look. It's beautiful.

PS My husband and I just sang "Christmas is all in the heart" at our church's Christmas dinner. I love that song!

12-arrows said...

WOW is all that escapes me at the moment!

Tricia said...

What a precious story! I have tears in my eyes! Thanks so much for sharing that with us!

Blessings!

Paula (SweetPea) said...

What an amazing story.

What an amazing God moment.

I have holy bumps. That is just so wonderful. As I read, I thought there was going to be some significant and spelling but my mind never wondered is would be such an awesome misspelling presenting the Gospel in three words.

Thanks, Tracy, for sharing this.

I love the green background. Forgive me if I've not been here in a while or I've already commented on the new look.

Love,
Paula

Debra said...

Tracy,

Thank you for sharing this story. I had never heard it before...it touched my heart so!

Blessings to you today!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Is that not beautiful? I'm finding Christ so much this year; that being said, I've never been more tired. I simply am exhausted and not sure as to my next move. Whenever I see Him in the simple and small ways, I am reminded that I should be looking for him all year, not just in this season.

Love your Christmas blog look. Happy week to you and yours. Nick's home for break and the noise level has dramatically increased in our household!

peace~elaine

Susan said...

Oh, what a story! Thanks for sharing Tracy.

Puts everything in it's right perspective doesn't it?

Jesus it truly love!