Our First Noel

18 years ago tonight (Christmas Eve 1994), I wrote this poem as my contribution to a family talent show that my wife’s parents have as part of their family Christmas Eve program.  It was just three weeks after I became a father.  I share it tonight as my own Christmas message/present to you.

 

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‘Twas the first noel that came to our house,

not at night nor at Christmas time came.

And yet through her birth, a miracle shown,

God showed us His love all the same.

But what of this gift to us that is given,

From a kind Heavenly Father above.

She’s our first gift for Christmas and brings with her birth,

A lasting eternal love.

Why does it happen that we’re blessed this way?

A miracle that we’ll never know.

It started way back in a small manger still,

Near two thousand years ago.

When a Christ child came and shed light on the Earth,

A glory to ever last.

Now we can enjoy the first gift of love,

That came when the first Christmas passed.

So let us remember, lest we forget,

Why we are here on the Earth.

For Christ is our Savior, not just through his death,

But with life which started with birth.

 

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Thanksgiving has ended, giving thanks has not.

Full course dinner

Image via Wikipedia

Well, here it is, the end of another Thanksgiving holiday.  Once again I spent it with my wife’s family all gathered at my in-laws house.  There were four generations of family members here to celebrate.  My wife’s grandma, her parents, her five siblings, and all the off-spring.  Of the six children in the family, five are married and each of the five have at least on child.  All in all, there are currently 18 grandchildren living.  Add all of that up and there are 32 people that were gathered around a table built for 10.  Actually, we set up additional tables and spread everyone out.

I had meant to write this blog earlier in the day, but you probably understand why I didn’t… I was busy.  There was eating breakfast, playing with kids, eating lunch, napping, playing with kids, taking a walk with my wife, eating, watching a movie, and now…listening to my wife and daughter snore while I write a blog post.  What a day it has been.

The day is almost over…it is nearly midnight…and the crazy masses have already declared Thanksgiving done and Christmas season begun.  And as a small piece of advice, avoid the WalMart in Nampa, Idaho.  And probably everywhere else.

So with the day drawing to a close, I must say that it is merely a day that is ending, not the thanks that has been given.  No amount of turkey, potatoes & gravy, stuffing, or pie can detract from the fact that we have much to be thankful for.  Let’s start for instance with the food just mentioned.  If you had a Thanksgiving feast, count yourself blessed more than probably 90% of the world’s population (which is over 7 billion if you didn’t already know that).  Heck, if you even had a simple meal to eat today you were blessed more than most everyone else.

This brings me to an interesting thought.  What would a homeless person that hasn’t eaten yet today, or maybe had to salvage scraps from a garbage can, have to be thankful for?  Would they be thankful for their lives?  Would they be thankful for the clothes they have on their back?  Probably.  Are you?  Or do you take it for granted.

Earlier today I posted on Facebook that I was grateful for Facebook, so that I could read what I was grateful for in all the posts that my “friends” made throughout the day.  All I had to say was ditto.  And though I made the comment with a little bit of humor on my mind, I was quite serious.  I was nice to read what so many people are thankful for.

Now here is a question for you: How many of you were so thankful that you shared what you had today with someone who didn’t have?  How did you use the gratitude that you have to help someone else be thankful for receiving a blessing from your hands?

Isn’t that how we show our gratitude?  I know we can offer a word of prayer (if you are the praying type) or share a card or a verbal thank-you to friends and loved ones.  But isn’t there something more that we can do?

Hey, I am guilty of not sharing with the less fortunate myself.  Sometimes we get so caught up in the holiday and the traditions that come with it that we fail to think of those that may not have the chance to celebrate.  There are times that I wish I had done more.  There have been times that I did.

I remember one year my family provided a Thanksgiving meal to a family in our neighborhood.  We did it anonymously because we didn’t want them to know who it was from, just that they were loved.  The husband had recently lost his job, the wife had had her hours cut, and both of their families lived far enough away that they couldn’t afford the gas to drive home for the holiday.  Had we stayed at home that year for the Thanksgiving, maybe we would have invited them to join us.  But since we weren’t we at least wanted to provide their meal.

It felt good to provide a meal and I only wonder if they enjoyed the day as much as we had hoped.  They said that they had a great holiday but never made mention of the food left on their doorstep.  But they were taken care of and knew someone cared for them.

I am still grateful we did that.  I know that my gratitude increases when I share what I have.  One of the first commandments God gave was to “Love thy neighbor as thyself”.  One of the interpretations I have of that commandment is to share what I have.  Charity is the pure love of Christ.  Now we enter into the holiday season where we celebrate His birth and life here on earth.  If we are to love our neighbor as we really should, we will love them as Christ loves us.  If we are to love as Christ loves, we will have charity.  If we have charity, we are giving.  If we are giving, we are sharing ourselves and those things we have been blessed with.  We have thanks and are giving.  Hence we have Thanksgiving.

So as the clock strikes twelve and we move into Friday, remember that the holiday may have ended but the actions never should.  Happy Thanksgiving.

Another view from a Palmtree.