Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I got this in an e-mail today from my grandparents.

The "W" in Christmas

Each December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience.
I had cut back on nonessential obligations - extensive card writing, endlessbaking, decorating, and even overspending.
Yet still, I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the preciousfamily moments, and of course, the true meaning of Christmas.
My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting seasonfor a six year old.
For weeks, he'd been memorizing songs for his school's "Winter Pageant."
I didn't have the heart to tell him I'd be working the night of theproduction. Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his teacher.
She assured me there'd be a dress rehearsal the morning of the presentation.
All parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then.
Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise.
So, the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in ten minutes early, founda spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down. Around the room, I saw severalother parents quietly scampering to their seats. As I waited, the studentswere led into the room. Each class, accompanied by their teacher, satcross-legged on the floor. Then, each group, one by one, rose to performtheir song.
Because the public school system had long stopped referring to the holidayas "Christmas," I didn't expect anything other than fun, commercialentertainment songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes and good cheer.
So, when my son's class rose to sing, "Christmas Love," I was slightly takenaback by its bold title.
Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens,red sweaters, and bright snowcaps upon their heads.
Those in the front row- center stage - held up large letters, one by one, tospell out the title of the song.
As the class would sing "C is for Christmas," a child would hold up theletter C. Then, "H is for Happy," and on and on, until each child holding uphis portion had presented the complete message, "Christmas Love."
The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her; a small,quiet, girl in the front row holding the letter "M" upside down - totallyunaware her letter "M" appeared as a "W".
The audience of 1st through 6th graders snickered at this little one'smistake. But she had no idea they were laughing at her, so she stood tall,proudly holding her "W".
Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter continueduntil the last letter was raised, and we all saw it together.
A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen.
In that instant, we understood the reason we were there, why we celebratedthe holiday in the first place, why even in the chaos, there was a purposefor our festivities.For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear:

"C H R I S T W A S L O V E"

Don't let the excitement of gifts, and ACLU-like crying make you forget the real reason why Christmas is here.