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CHRISTMAS LOVE

Each December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience. I
had cut back on nonessential obligations - extensive card writing, endless
baking, decorating, and even overspending. Yet still, I found myself
exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family moments, and of course,
the true meaning of Christmas.

My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting season
for 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 the production. 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 10 minutes early, found a spot on the
cafeteria floor and sat down. Around the room, I saw several other parents
quietly scampering to their seats.

As I waited, the students were led into the room. Each class, accompanied
by their teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor. Then, each group, one by
one, rose to perform their song. Because the public school system had long
stopped referring to the holiday as "Christmas," I didn't expect anything
other than fun, commercial entertainment - songs of reindeer, Santa Claus,
snowflakes and good cheer.

So, when my son's class rose to sing "Christmas Love," I was slightly
taken aback by its bold title. Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his
classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens, red sweaters, and bright snow caps
upon their heads.

Those in the front row - centre stage - held up large letters, one by one,
to spell out the title of the song. As the class would sing "C is for
Christmas," a child would hold up the letter C. Then, "H is for Happy,"
and on and on, until each child holding up his 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 -
totally unaware her letter "M" appeared as a "W."
The audience of 1st through 6th graders snickered at this little one's
mistake. 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 continued until the last letter was raised, and then
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 celebrated the holiday in the
first place, why even in the chaos, there was a purpose for our
festivities.

For, when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear:

"CHRIST WAS LOVE"
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Copyright 2006 Joke A Whenever

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