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Sunday, December 23, 2007

CHRISTMAS EVE 2007


Good Monday Mornin' Yall,

I know this is Christmas Eve Day, so I won't keep everyone very long. I have had a busy weekend. Hubby and me went shopping Friday night and got things for the girls. We went and ate Chinese and Seafood at the Mongolian Grill in Jonesboro, AR. I am a big fan of Seafood. LOL. I do hope that everyone had a great weekend and ready to be with your Family and Friends.

I have met so many new friend in the few months that I have been blogging. I have met some just recently as well. One of my new found friends, Joyce@CreationinProgress had a story on her post the other day. It was so touching and I asked her to email it to me and if it would be okay if I put it up as one of my post's. She said I could. "THANK YOU" Joyce for sharing this story. It fits right in since today is Christmas Eve Day. So, I am going to share it with you as well.
Christmas Eve 1921
Pa never had much compassion for the lazy or those who squandered their means and then never had enough for the necessities. But for those who were genuinely in need, his heart was as big as all outdoors. It was from him that I learned the greatest joy in life comes from giving, not from receiving.
It was Christmas Eve 1921. I was fifteen years old and feelingLike the world had caved in on me because there just hadn't been enough money to buy me the rifle that I'd wanted for Christmas. We did the chores early that night for some reason. I just figured Pa wanted a little extra time so we could read in the Bible. After supper was over I took my boots off and stretched out inFront of the fireplace and waited for Pa to get down the old Bible. I wasStill feeling sorry for myself and, to be honest, I wasn't in much of a mood to read Scriptures. But Pa didn't get the Bible; instead he bundled up again and went outside. I couldn't figure it out because we had already done all the chores. I didn't worry about it long though; I was too busy wallowing in self-pity. Soon Pa came back in. It was a cold clear night out and there was ice in his beard. "Come on, Matt," he said. "Bundle up good, it's cold out Tonight.." I was really upset then. Not only wasn't I getting the rifle for Christmas, now Pa was dragging me out in the cold, and for no earthly Reason that I could see. We'd already done all the chores, and ICouldn't think of anything else that needed doing, especially not on a night like this But I knew Pa was not very patient at one dragging one's feet when he'd told them to do something, so I got up and put my boots back on and got my cap, coat, and mittens. Ma gave me a mysterious smile as I opened the door to leave the house. Something was up, but I didn't know what. Outside, I became even more dismayed. There in front of the house Was the work team, already hitched to the big sled. Whatever it was weWere going to do wasn't going to be a short, quick, little job. I could tell.We never hitched up this sled unless we were going to haul a big load.. Pa was already up on the seat, reins in hand. I reluctantlyClimbed up beside him. The cold was already biting at me. I wasn't happy. When I was on, Pa pulled the sled around the house and stopped in front of the woodshed. He got off and I followed. "I think we'll put on the high sideboards," he said. "Here, help me." The high sideboards! It had been a Bigger job than I wanted to do with just the low sideboards on, but Whatever it was we were going to do would be a lot bigger with the high sideboards on. After we had exchanged the sideboards, Pa went into the woodshed and came out with an armload of wood---the wood I'd spent all summer hauling down from the mountain, and then all Fall sawing into blocks andSplitting. What was he doing? Finally I said something. "Pa," I asked, "what areYou doing?" You been by the Widow Jensen's lately?" he asked. The Widow Jensen lived about two miles down the road. Her husband had died a year or so before and left her with three children, the oldest being eight. Sure,I'd been by, but so what? "Yeah," I said, "Why?" "I rode by just today," Pa said. "Little Jakey was out digging around in the woodpile trying to find a few chips. They're out of wood, Matt." That was all he said and then he turned and went back into the woodshed for another armload of wood. I followed him. We loaded the sledSo high that I began to wonder if the horses would be able to pull it. Finally, Pa called a halt to our loading, then we went to the smokeHouse and Pa took down a big ham and a side of bacon. He handed them to me and told me to put them in the sled and wait. When he returned he was carrying a sack of flour over his right shoulder and a smaller sack of something in his left hand. "What's inThe little sack?" I asked. "Shoes. They're out of shoes. Little Jakey just had gunnysacks wrapped around his feet when he was out in the woodpile this morning. I got the children a little candy too. It just wouldn't be Christmas without a litt Le candy." We rode the two miles to Widow Jensen's pretty much in silence. I tried to think through what Pa was doing. We didn't have much by worldly standards. Of course, we did have a big woodpile, though most of what was left now was still in the form of logs that I would have to saw into blocks and split before we could use it. We also had meat and flour, so we could spare that, but I knew we didn't have any money, so why was Pa buying them shoes and candy? Really, why was he doing any of this? Widow Jensen had closer neighbors than us; it shouldn't have been our concern. We came in fromthe blind side of the Jensen house and unloaded the wood as quietly as possible, and then we took the meat and flour and shoes to the door. We knocked. The door opened a crack and a timid voice said, "Who is it?"
"Lucas Miles, Ma'am, and my son, Matt. Could we come in for a bit?" Widow Jensen opened the door and let us in. She had a blanket wrapped around her shoulders. The children were wrapped in another and were sitting in front of the fireplace by a very small fire that hardly gave off any heat at all. Widow Jensen fumbled with a match and finally lit the lamp. "We brought you a few things, Ma'am," Pa said and set down the sack of flour. I put the meat on the table. Then Pa handed her the sack that had the shoes in it. She opened it hesitantly and took the shoes out one pair at a time. There was a pair for her and one for each of the children---sturdy shoes, the best, shoes that would last. I watched her carefully. She bit her lower lip to keep it from trembling and then tears filled her eyes and started running down her cheeks. She looked up at Pa like she wanted to say something, but it wouldn't come out. "We brought a load of wood too, Ma'am," Pa said.. He turned to me and said, "Matt, go bring in enough to last awhile. Let's get that fire up to size and heat this place up." I wasn't the same person when I went backout to bring in the wood. I had a big lump in my throat and as much as I hate to admit it, there were tears in my eyes too. In my mind I kept seeing those three kids huddled around the fireplace and their mother standing there with tears running down her cheeks with so much gratitude in her heart that she couldn't speak. My heart swelled within me and a joy that I'd never known before, filled my soul. I had given at Christmas many times before, but never when it had made so much difference. I could see we were literally saving the lives of these people. I soon had the fire blazing and everyone's spirits soared. The kids started giggling when Pa handed them each a piece of candy and Widow Jensen looked on with a smile that probably hadn't crossed her face for a long time. She finally turned to us. "God bless you," she said. "I know the Lord has sent you. The children and I have been praying that he would sendone of his angels to spare us." In spite of myself, the lump returned to my throat and the tears welled up in my eyes again. I'd never thought of Pa in those exact terms before, but after Widow Jensen mentioned it I could see that it was probably true. I was sure that a better man than Pa had never walked the earth. I started remembering all the times he had gone out of his wayfor Ma and me, and many others. The list seemed endless as I thought on it. Pa insisted that everyone try on the shoes before we left. I was amazed when they all fit and I wondered how he had known what sizes to get. Then I guessed that if he was on an errand for the Lord that the Lord would make sure he got the right sizes. Tears were running down Widow Jensen's face again when we stood up to leave. Pa took each of the kids in his big arms and gave them a hug. They clung to him and didn't want us to go. I could see that they missed their Pa, and I was glad that I still had mine. At the door Pa turned to Widow Jensen and said, "The Mrs. wanted me to invite you and the children over for Christmas dinner tomorrow. The turkey will be more than the three of us can eat, and a man can get cantankerous if he has to eat turkey for too many meals. We'll be by to get you about eleven. It'll be nice to have some little ones around again. Matt, here, hasn't been little for quite a spell." I was the youngest. My two brothers and two sisters had all married and had moved away. Widow Jensen nodded and said, "Thank you, Brother Miles. I don't have to say, "'May the Lord bless you,' I know for certain that He w ill."
Out on the sled I felt a warmth that came from deep within and I didn't even notice the cold. When we had gone a ways, Pa turned to me and said, "Matt, I want you to know something. Your ma and me have been tucking a little money away here and there all year so we could buy that rifle for you, but we didn't have quite enough. Then yesterday a man who owed me a little money from years back came by to make things square. Your ma and me were real excited, thinking that now we could get you that rifle, and I started into town this morning to do just that. But on the way I saw little Jakey out scratching in the woodpile with his feet wrapped in those gunnysacks and I knew what I had to do.Son, I spent the money for shoes and a little candy for those children. I hope you understand." I understood, and my eyes became wet with tears again. I understood very well, and I was so glad Pa had done it. Now the rifle seemed very low on my list of priorities. Pa had given me a lot more. He had given methe look on Widow Jensen's face and the radiant smiles of her three children. For the rest of my life, whenever I saw any of the Jensen's, or split a block of wood, I remembered, and remembering brought back that same joy I felt riding home beside Pa that night. Pa had given me much morethan a rifle that night; he had given me the best Christmas of my life. Don't be too busy today...
Share this inspiring message Merry Christmas from our family to yours.
If you have never been over to visit Joyce, when you have time, please drop by and give her some blog Love. She has alot of inspirational stories and thoughts. I know this is a very busy day and the next couple of days will be as well, but WHEN you have the time, drop by and pay Joyce a visit.

I finally got my Villages up yesterday. Can you believe it. LOL. I got my Dear Hubby and his Uncle to go over to the other house and bring my Buffet and China Cabinet to this house. I put my Villages up on my Buffet. It is beautiful. Hubby told me I did a great job and the girls did too. That made me feel so good. It took some time to get it all in order, but I fianlly got it done.

I was suppose to do work up my Chicken and Dressing yesterday, but I wanted to get my Villages up first. I will do all my cooking after while. My Parents and Sister will be coming up around 4:00p.m. for us to have our Christmas Dinner. My Mother-In-Law will be here sometime between 4:00 - 5:00p.m. She is bringing a Mince Meat Pie. I haven't had one of those in years. I am making homemade chicken and dressing(yes Lib, I'll be making my good ole Southern homemade cornbread LOL), Potato Salad, and then I'm fixing up a tray that will have pickles, olives, shrimp, and coctail sausages. My Mother made me a Cheese Ball and we will have that as well. My Mom is bringing the Ham and some desserts. I'm not sure what my Sister is bringing. I bought some Christmas Paper Plates(the kind that has the sections in them)Friday night while hubby and me were shopping. That way, I don't have to worry about washing so many dishes. After we eat and rest a bit, they will give the girls their gifts to open. Speaking of gifts, hubby and me let our girls have their Christmas presents we had bought them Friday night. It wasn't much, but they sure loved what we got them. Santa does still have one Big gift to drop by tho. Always save the best for last huh? I got out of wrapping their gifts. I'm just too tired to do it anyway. I know that sounds bad, but they didn't mind taking them out of the sacks. Hey, way back in the days, they didn't wrap presents either. They were put into socks or Stockings.

I do have another post I will put up as a post for Christmas Day. So, if you have some time, stop by and read it. I got it from a friend as well.

Well, take care my friends and have a great Christmas Eve Day. "MERRY CHRISTMAS" to you and yours from our Family. Remember: JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON"!!!! May God bless You and Yours.


LOVE & HUGS,


16 comments:

dabrah said...

Thanks for the nice message you left Karen. Our Christmas tree is finally decorated, and I'm frantically getting ready for my guests this afternoon. All my best wishes to you and yours.

Jackie said...

Thanks for the reminder of what Christmas is really about, the giving of joy to another.

Have a great visit with family Karen.

Lib said...

Hi Miz. Karen,
What a heart warming ,tear jerker! But the real meaning of Christmas!Thanks for sharing.
I know we all carry heavy burdens ,but we can always look around and see soemone with a heavier heart!
What time will that Southern cornbread dressin' be served? lol I want be able to make it,so just eat a piece for me.
Thanks for the sweet sunshine you bring my way daily:o)
Merry Christmas,
Blessins' Love,and hugs
Your country friend Lib

Mary said...

Karen,

This story is wonderful. Thank you for sharing it. I can remember many Christmases when we didn't get much, but Dad would help anyone if he could.

To me, the fun is giving, not receiving. I love to see people's eyes light up when they receive a thoughtful gift. It doesn't have to be much if it comes from the heart.

I'm sure your girls are very proud of their parents and you should be proud of them as well. I'm glad you were able to get your village up. Villages are so pretty.

Take care, Karen. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Blessings,
Mary

Joyce said...

Karen, thank you for the kind words. I am praising God for the new friends I have met while blogging. I may never meet you in person until Heaven, but I count you as a friend. You and your family have a great Christmas and will get back to you after Christmas.
Love and Hugs,
Joyce

Betty said...

Hi Karen,

Thank you for taking time out of your busy life to give us this wonderful post.

Jesus is definitely the reason for the season, and I wish for you and your family a very Merry Christmas and the best New Year ever.

2 LMZ FARMS said...

karen, just wanted to drop by and wish you and yours a very merry christmas and a blessed new year.
laura

Hope said...

Good Morning Karen,
As you know I was up very late so of course I'm late for coffee again!! Haven't even been over to Lib's yet!!
Thank you for sharing that beautiful story. It made me cry but there is such a good lesson in it too. I'll have to go over and visit Joyce as soon as I get time.

I'm glad you got your village up!
I know you'll be busy today but I wanted to tell you to enjoy the family tonight.

Hugs,
Hope

bj said...

What a lovely post...thanks so much for sharing.
Have the merriest of Christmases and I hope Santa baby brings you your dreams!!
hugs and love, bj

Talk..to..Grams said...

Sounds like you will have a wonderful Christmas!! Your food sounds so good! I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas!Love and Hugs Grams

PEA said...

Merry Christmas dear Karen:-) That certainly was a heart warming story to read and now I need more tissues!!! lol I'm just doing quick visits today because I'm limited to my blogging time. May the joy that comes with Christmas Day remain with you throughout the year!! Merry Christmas dear friend. xoxo

bj said...

Hi, friend Karen, I just came in to ck my email and saw a comment posted from you. I am feeling MUCH better...I thank you so much for checking on me. I do appreciate it.
Have a merry day!
blessings and lots of hugs, bj

Rachel said...

Hi Karen! That was a very touching story and what Christmas is really all about.

Merry Christmas!!!

Cecil said...

Karen... Merry Christmas to you and your family! It is late and I will come back on later... have a wonderful day tomorrow.. Thank you for the awards!! You are so sweet! I'll check back in soon! Cecil

Dave said...

Thanks so much for the CHristmas reminder... Have a great Christmas! First time here... Will be back! :-)

Chrissie said...

Hi, Karen! Thank you for that wonderful story! Merry Christmas to you and your dear family!
God bless you!
Chrissie