Tell Me a Story of Christmas

(Adapted from an original story by columnist Bill Vaughan, Kansas City Star)

“Tell me a story of Christmas,” she said to her father.

A television mumbled faint inanities in the next room. From a few houses down the block came the sound of car doors slamming and guests being greeted with loud joviality.

Her father thought awhile. His mind mulled over the immeasurable pile of Christmas books he had read

He gently took her hand. He began tentatively. “Well, once upon a time, it was the week before Christmas, and all the little elves at the North Pole were sad.”

He could tell she was tired. Perhaps she was almost as weary as he himself was after the last frenzied days.

“OK,” he said. “In a city, not far from here, there once was the cutest, wriggling puppy you ever did see.

Snow was falling. Now, the little puppy didn’t have a home. As the puppy walked along sidewalks, it saw a house that looked quite a bit like our house. At the window…”

“…was a little girl who looked quite a bit like me,” she said with a disappointed sigh. “I’m tired of puppies. I love my puppy Pinky, of course. But I’m tired of story puppies.”

“OK,” he said. “No puppies. This narrows the field.”

“Nothing,” he answered. “I’ll think of something. Oh, sure. There was a forest, way up north, farther than where Uncle Eddie lives. And all the trees were talking about how each one would be the grandest Christmas tree of all. One tiny maple sapling said, ‘I will be a Christmas tree, too.’ And all the other trees laughed and snickered and said, ‘You? A Christmas tree? Who would want you?’”

“No trees, Daddy,” she said. “We have a tree at school and at Sunday School and at the mall and downstairs and a little one in my room. I am very tired of trees.”

“You are very spoiled,” he said.

“Hmmm,” she replied. “Tell me a Christmas story.”

“Let’s see. All the reindeer up at the North Pole were looking forward to pulling Santa’s sleigh. All but one. This reindeer felt sad because…” he paused. He realized this wasn’t going to work either.

His daughter didn’t say anything. She simply looked at him reproachfully.

“Tired of reindeer, too?” he asked. “Frankly, so am I. How about Christmas on the farm when I was a little boy? Would you like to hear about how it was in the old days when my grandpa would heat up bricks by a coal-burning stove and then put them in a sleigh and we’d all go for a ride in the sleigh through the snow?”

“Yes, Daddy” she said obediently. “But not right now. Not tonight.”

He was silent, thinking. His repertoire was exhausted, he feared.

She was quiet, too. Perhaps she had fallen asleep.

He thought, “Maybe I’m home free.”

“Daddy,” she murmured, “tell me a story of Christmas.”

Then, it was as though he could read the words on the unseen page. So firmly were they in his memory.

Still holding her hand, he leaned back: In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the

world should be registered…

Her hand tightened a bit in his hand.

And he told her a story of Christmas.

* * * * *

In this season, Christmas stories squash and squeeze one another in libraries, book stores, department stores and on-line wish lists.

In this season, resist the lure of elves and of puppies, of trees and of reindeer.

In this season, reach for holy scripture and open to the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 2. There you will find a story of Christmas. The story of Christmas. Read the story aloud. Tell the story aloud.

In this season, on Christmas Eve at 7 p.m., may you join The United Church of Warsaw family in the

sanctuary where we will read the story, hear the story and sing of the story. The story of Christmas.

Beside you in the journey of faith,
Rev. Barbara