|WHAT IS GREATER THAN THE GIFT OF FRIENDS
FRANKLY SPEAKING--Christmas: The True Story by Dr. Ralph Joseph 12 20 2000
BT(This is a story I got from my home-town paper years ago…a story written by Dr. Ralph Joseph, who delivered
Louise and my first two children, Melody and Starlett. It touches me every time I try to read i t).
Here is his story...
I remember my first Christmas party with Grandma.
I was just a kid. I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb:
“There is no Santa Claus,” she jeered. “Even dummies know that!”
grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me.
I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one
of her world-famous cinnamon buns.
Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites,
I told her everything. She was ready for me. “No Santa Claus!” she snorted. “Ridiculous!
Don’t believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad. Plain mad. Now,
put on your coat and let’s go.” “Go? Go where, Grandma?” I hadn’t even
finished my second cinnamon bun.
“Where” turned out to be Kerby’s General Store…the
one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me
ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days. “Take this money, “ she said, “and buy something
for someone who needs it. I’ll wait for you in the car.” Then she turned and walked out of Kerby’s.
I was only eight years old. I’d often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped
for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping.
For a few moments I just stood there, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy…
I though of everybody I knew; my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, the people who went to my church.
I was just about thought out, when I suddenly though of Bobbie Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair,
and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock’s grade-two class.
Bobbie Decker didn’t have
a coat. I knew that because he never went out for recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling
the teacher that he had a cough, but all we kids knew that Bobbie Decker didn’t have a cough, and he didn’t have
a coat. I fingered the ten dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobbie Decker a coat.
I settled on a red corduroy; one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that. “Is
this a Christmas present for someone?” the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down.
“Yes, I replied shyly. “It’s…for Bobbie.” The nice lady smiled at me. I didn’t
get any change, but she put the coat in a bag and wished me a Merry Christmas.
That evening, Grandma
helped me wrap the coat in Christmas paper and ribbons, and write “To Bobbie, from Santa Claus” on it. Grandma
said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobbie Decker’s house, explaining as we
went that I was now and forever officially one of Santa’s helpers.
Grandma parked down the street
from Bobbie’s house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk. Then Grandma gave
me a nudge. “All right, Santa Claus,” she whispered, “get going.”
took a deep breath, cashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his doorbell and flew back to the
safety of the bushes and Grandma. Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open.
Finally it did, and there stood Bobbie.
Forty years (at that time) haven’t dimmed the thrill
of those moments spent shivering beside my Grandma in Bobbie Decker’s bushes. That night, I realized that those
awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were; ridiculous. Santa was alive and well, and we were
on his team. Happy Holidays!
(My add) In this story, Dr. Joseph didn’t mention Christ,
but he’s telling a story about a second-grader’s picture of Christmas, and it taught him the lesson that Christ
wants for each of us.
I’ve noticed that some of my Conquest articles have taken on a new complexion since my wife
went to her new home. I don’t feel the same about passing from this life to the next. I like to use the
term “The Promise” that the Lord gives to everyone…that Christians will immediately be with loved
ones who’ve gone on, when our turn comes.
King David used that consolation we see in 2nd Samuel 12:23,
after his son by Bathsheba died; “I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” And of course Jesus
showed the same comfort to us, as He hung on the Cross, when he told the thief hanging beside Him, who had become a believer
there, “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”
I’ve written about that in an earlier article, but for those of you who didn’t see it, I’ll give
my interpretation of those words by Christ. “Today” means now…assuring us that we won’t be
put in a waiting area until some time in the future. And “shalt thou be with me” means that He will go to
the same place with this person who’s dying at His side.
And the Bible clearly shows that the word “Paradise” and
“Heaven” are the same place. Revelation 2:7 is enough to convince us: “He who has an ear, let
him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers, I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which
is in the paradise of God.” And the tree of life serves double duty, also indicating that we’ll eat the
best of foods in Heaven.
The only ones who
should fear death, are those of you who haven’t given your heart to the Lord. I beg you to take care of that,
at this very moment. It’s the only time you’re guaranteed.