LOUISE: The Miracle of Christmas

Written by Louise Tucker Jones in the December 2013 Issue

Growing up on a farm in the fifties was absolutely magical at Christmas. Though we had no telephone, TV, or indoor plumbing, we had a small shallow pond to skate on when the temperature dipped below freezing and acres of snow to tromp through.

But best of all, we had a community gathering at our school gymnasium with children dressed in bathrobes, sheets and tinsel to play the parts of Mary, Joseph, shepherds, kings, and angels. While the young ones acted out the biblical Christmas story, the high school chorus sang the message—Silent Night, Away In A Manger, We Three Kings and more.

Jay in a Christmas ProductionA huge Christmas tree, so tall we had to use ladders to decorate it, dominated the area close to the stage. When the holy pageant was over, someone ran to the microphone and announced they heard sleigh bells. The gymnasium, packed with people, became absolutely silent as Santa Claus, with his red suit, big belly and white beard, made his grand entrance with a hearty “Ho, ho, ho.” Applause erupted and children jumped up and down as Santa began calling names from the mountainous pile of presents under the tree. Packages that parents had brought so their kids would get a gift from Santa.

At the end of the evening, each person went home with a brown paper bag filled with hard candy, chocolates, nuts and fruit. I would lie awake that night reliving the magical moments of the evening. As a young girl, I loved the fact that I always got a new dress to wear to the program, my favorite being a red one with a full skirt and jingle bells sewn into the rick rack trim. Starched, crisp, can-can slips gave the skirt its flare and I loved the little jingle-jangle when I walked.

As a high school student, the words of the Christmas carols reverberated in my mind, reminding me of a Savior who came to earth. I pondered that story over and over. During summer nights, I often placed my pillow on the windowsill of the open window beside my bed and admired the starry heavens with a bright moon shining in on me. After the Christmas pageant, I would glance through that ice-glazed window, picturing the angels splitting the black, night skies with glorious splendor and announcing their message of the Christ Child’s birth to shepherds in the field. What a wonder!

Today, I can attend a number of elaborate Christmas productions at different churches and venues, but I miss those long ago pageants with children gracing the stage in holy attire, stumbling over a few speaking lines. I miss the closeness of community supporting each other. It didn’t matter if you were rich or poor, young or old, you were part of the family in our rural school and church celebrations. I even miss those brown bags of goodies that my siblings and I would dive into at home, trading out the things we didn’t like.

In our present, fast-paced world, how many of us slow down enough to ponder that first Christmas when Jesus Christ came to earth as a baby? The Prince of Peace, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, born in a stable to a young, virgin maiden. Angels sang. A star lit the eastern sky. The greatest miracle ever, yet most failed to see it.

Some of us still miss the miracle of Christmas. We look at the gifts instead of the Giver. The mundane instead of the miraculous. The hassles instead of the holy. This year, why not choose to be different? Look for the real Christmas. You just might find it in a child’s Christmas play when a petite, tinsel-clad angel announces to the audience, “For unto you is born this day . . . a Savior which is Christ the Lord.”

Wishing you a Blessed Christmas! 

12 Comments

Karen Acton Isaacson Says:
December 6th, 2013 at 7:30 pm
Thank you Louise for the memories you have awakened in me. I remember those wonderful Christmas programs and the closeness that we, as a community shared. We were certainly Hblessed with a wonderful, simple upbringing.

Bruce Henderson Says:
December 6th, 2013 at 8:48 pm
I lived in that Community growing up and it is still the same today...I would not trade those days for anything...The values I live by today were instilled in me in those early years...Thank you Louise for reminding me of some of the happiest times in my life.

Debbie VanCleave Allison Says:
December 8th, 2013 at 2:45 pm
I remember the moms sacking the candy on the day of the program while we practiced. Also the anticipation of who was chosen to be Mary. I loved our Christmas program. It and the pie supper were the highlights of the year for me.

Tommie Acton Says:
December 8th, 2013 at 3:25 pm
Oh how I remember those Christmas program. Mrs. Carter was the director. She loved it and put all her heart and soul into it. She sure didn't mind to call you out if you where off key or not paying attention. But in the end it was worth it. It was always prefect! I remember my husband and I played Mary and Joseph once. Who knew we would grow up and get married and lived happily ever after. I remember that little community well. Everyone was family even if you wasn't. And all the elders always looked out for the little ones even if they wasn't there's. Oh the memories

Carla Knight Says:
December 8th, 2013 at 4:11 pm
Louise- what a perfect depiction of what this season is about! You painted an exact picture of what every child in that community, myself included, experienced should they have been lucky enought to get to go, and participate. I smile every time I see a piece of hard candy. Thanks for the memories! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Gaylen Parker Ford Says:
December 8th, 2013 at 4:31 pm
As always I loved your story. I remember how excited we were as were our children and grandchildren. Many generations enjoy the program and still do.
I hated I couldn't go to the Christmas Pie Supper this year.
Such fun raising money to fill those candy sacks.
Love our community and the wonderful people there.
Keep the stories coming Lou. Hugs

Pat Bissett Says:
December 8th, 2013 at 8:45 pm
Louise, I too, cherish the memories of the Christmas programs and our little Baptist Church we attended. We were blessed with wonderful role models all around us. Our parents, teachers, classmates and neighbors. I especially remember coming home from the hospital after having a tonsillectomy and my wonderful neighbors and friend,the Tucker family came to visit me. That small gesture made me feel special and loved. You are a true inspiration to all through your writings and the kind of life you lead.

Jack Mathis Says:
December 8th, 2013 at 9:12 pm
The annual Christmas program in the old gym and the bags of fruit and candy passed out to all of the children, was the real highlight of the Christmas season when we were growing up in the Wilson community. We were indeed blessed to have such a close community family.

Deborah Hatt Says:
December 9th, 2013 at 2:12 pm
I love all your cherished memories from childhood, Louise! They very much match my own. Once again, a lovely story to ponder until your next story! Thanks!

Esther Palmer Says:
December 17th, 2013 at 7:37 pm
I so can related to your Christmas Story and the way you all gathered together. Believe it or not I also had the same experiences. Born and raised in Brooklyn New york I also had a wonderful Church and church members that would make sure we received the message and also lots of wonderful memories. I don't think most of our kids nor grandkids have or will have such wonderful times and memories. I hope i am wrong. You have a wonderful Christmas also and stay well. Esther

Karen Patterson Says:
December 19th, 2013 at 5:38 pm
Thanks for reminding me of the ribbon candy, the fruit and nuts that were always a part of my Christmas growing up in Altus, OK. During WW11 our family provided a bedroom and meals for mthers that came to watch their sons graduate from flight school at the Altus Air Force Base. My family all moved into our back bedroom and let the guest have the front bedroom. We only had one bath room but at least it was inside plumbing. Those were great memories. My mother got Christmas cards for many many years from all the mothers who came from across the United States to stay with us. I remember having a small Christmas tree on a table one year and in my excitement I knocked it off and broke some of the glass balls. I didn't get in trouble! Oh, your story reminded me of the joys of Christmas and sharing it with strangers and we were of different faith but we all celebrated the birth of our Savior, Jesus.

Kathy Says:
December 19th, 2013 at 6:22 pm
I remember some of those. Good memories.
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