Tag Archives: suffering

Christmas’ Golden Box

Once upon a time,

there was a man

who worked very hard

just to keep food

on the table

for his family.

 

This particular year

And

a few days before Christmas,

he scolded

his little five-year-old daughter.

 

Because he had found out

that she had used up

the family’s only roll

of expensive gold wrapping paper.

As money was tight,

he became even more upset

when

on Christmas Eve

he saw that the child

had used all that paper

to decorate just one shoebox

she had put under the Christmas tree.

 

He also was concerned

about where

she had got hold of the money

to buy what was in

the box.

Nevertheless, the next morning

the little girl,

filled with excitement,

brought the gift box

to her father and said,

“This is for you, Daddy!”

As he opened the box,

the father was embarrassed

by his earlier overreaction,

now regretting

how he had been angry

with her.

But when he opened the shoebox,

he found it was empty

and again his anger flared.

 

“Don’t you know, young lady,”

he said harshly,

“when you give someone a present,

there’s supposed to be

something inside the package!”

The little girl looked up at him

with sad tears

rolling from her eyes

and whispered:

“Daddy, it’s not empty.

 

I blew kisses into it

until it was all full.”

The father was crushed.

 

He fell on his knees

and put his arms

around his precious little girl.

 

He begged her to forgive him

for his unnecessary temper.

An accident

took the life of the child

only a short time later.

 

It is told that the father

then kept this little gold box

by his bed

for all the years of his life.

 

Whenever he was discouraged

or faced difficult problems,

he would open the box,

take out an imaginary kiss,

and remember the love

of this beautiful child

who had put it there.
That is both and sad

and uplifting story.

 

Yet for all of us

who have reached

a certain age,

we know life

to be both bitter and sweet.

 

But despite that

we still try

to candy coat Christmas.

 

We spend too much,

eat too much

and become couch potatoes

too much.

 

And then…

and then it’s all over.

 

That is the moment

we feel like that father

who opened

that apparently empty shoebox.

 

It’s at that moment,

we exclaim –

is that it!

 

It is that moment,

we feel a bit cheated.

 

However, that feeling

forgets that Christmas

is like that

beautifully wrapped present

the little girl

gave her father.

 

For the true content

of Christmas is invisible.

 

It is the invisible idea

that there is a Creator God

who came down to earth

not as a thunderbolt

but a baby risking human hands.

 

The idea

that he did this

for no other reason

that his concern

for each and everyone of us.

 

The idea

that we can respond

to this unseen present

by showing concern,

companionship and even love others.

 

Since who can doubt

that Christmas

does make the world

a better place.

 

For don’t we greet

total strangers

on the 25th

with a smile

and a ‘Merry Christmas’?

 

Don’t we give generously

to charities

for human beings

in trouble, far and near?

 

Don’t we revel,

if only for a day,

in a peace

that seems beyond understanding

but not out knowing?

 

And the answer are – Yes we do!

 

The Australian columnist

Clive James

once wrote

of visiting Paris

 and reading

the author Albert Camus.

For he said –

I wanted to write like that,

 in a prose that sang like poetry.

I wanted to look like him.

 I wanted to wear

 a Bogart-style trench coat

 with the collar turned up,

 have an untipped Gauloise

dangling from my lower lip,

 and die

 romantically

 in a car crash.

He then decided

quite wisely

to keep the crash

for a more propitious moment.

However, he then wrote –

when you leave Paris,

you also leave behind

 the person

you might have been.

Let us then

not leave Christmas behind.

 Let us not leave Christmas

 like a discarded empty box.

 Let us see more

than its golden wrapper.

 Let us not leave

the person Christmas

 could make us.

Instead let us

open and open again

 the gift of Christmas.

And then blow

its kisses of love

towards people

who need their presence

more than most.

Amen

 

 

 

 

 

That dog is Lucky

Mary and her husband Jim had a dog named “Lucky.” Lucky was a real character. Whenever Mary and Jim had company come for a weekend visit they would warn their friends to not leave their luggage open because Lucky would help himself to whatever struck his fancy. Inevitably, someone would forget and something would come up missing.

Mary or Jim would go to Lucky’s toy box in the basement and there the treasure would be, amid all of Lucky’s other favorite toys. Lucky always stashed his finds in his toy box and he was very particular that his toys stay in the box.

It happened that Mary found out she had breast cancer.

Continue reading That dog is Lucky

Cafe of Memories

As we grow older, we all find it more difficult to make new friends. In fact, even keeping up with old friendships can be a struggle. This is made more difficult if  infirmities keep us bound to our homes.

That’s why we are starting our monthly ‘Cafe of Memories’ afternoon refreshments. Starting with tea or coffee, there will items on the tables to help bring back memories of the past and offer an opportunity to reminisce. For example, this month’s theme is ‘Old Dundee’. Then there will be a short moment of worship with familiar hymns and readings.  Throughout we will be sensitive to the needs of those who find remembering a challenge and those who help them today.

If you would like to find renewed companionship or care for someone who has difficulties of mind then please come along for our first Cafe of Memories at 2 p.m. on 3 September in our Halls.