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by Cary Branscum


    “Look Daddy! I’m an elf!” I turn around and it’s true. She IS an elf and a fairy princess. She is my daughter, and we are in the mall, or, as she thinks of it “The Mall.” She stands on one foot with a satin Santa hat perched on her head. I am fifty, and she is ten, a gift in middle age that makes all that went before it worthwhile.

    She is a vision, and as I smile back at her, I pray, “O Lord, don’t let me blow it. If nothing else, let me be a good dad.”

    I drive slowly back home as she sits beside me in the front seat, humming to the radio and bouncing to the music. I drive as slowly as I can. I don’t want the ride to end. Maybe if I drive slowly enough, she’ll never grow up! My wife and I will make it a good Christmas for her.

    I have a son in his twenties who is trying to finish college. I have another daughter, nearly twenty, sizing up life’s options. I have another son, eighteen, and handicapped, a special blessing from God who will live with us as long as we are able to care for him. We will make it a good Christmas for them.

    But I think of others, and this is where you come in. You see, I need your help.

  • There is a grandma forgotten by her grandchildren. Illness and divorce have interrupted family bonds. She stands right now, over an old kitchen sink in a farmhouse, alone. She wonders how long she can get on by herself. She wonders where she will go. She wonders who will care.
  • There is a man so forgotten and despondent, that he spent Christmas Eve on the railroad tracks, hoping for death for Christmas.
  • A young girl lingers alone in a facility for handicapped children. It’s a busy time of year, and she is forgotten. For her Christmas is just another day in her room.
  • A college student goes home to chaos at the Christmas break, and wonders is his parents will survive the stress in their lives.
  • An elementary student is trying so hard to believe in a God who Is There To Help Her, when her world seems to be flying apart.
  • Right now a single dad is trying to balance a checkbook. He is trying to keep the car, the job, the apartment, and give his children something nice for Christmas. The kids ask for a tree, but right now, he can buy a tree, or he can buy groceries, but not both.
  • A mom got fired from her job just today. Call it downsizing, rightsizing, the economy, it doesn’t matter, the results are the same; it will be a tough Christmas.
  • Tonight, a child begins a letter to Santa. With a big round pencil on piece of paper, in big block letters the words begin: “Dear Santa, mom said you had a little trouble finding our house last year,” and he begins to desperately write instructions to Santa on how to find his house.

This can’t be allowed to happen.
    I say NO! This can’t be allowed to happen. Not here, not anywhere! No! Not one, not any way, no how, no way does ANY child deserve a bad Christmas! You got it?

    Right now, YOU, my friend — yeah buddy, I am talkin’ to YOU! I’m not talking to the armed forces, social services, the government, the police or firemen. They are doing a LOT! —I’m talkin’ to YOU. In fact, imagine me as a television evangelist. I have long gray hair swept back and slicked down with ten pounds of hairspray. In fact, in someone lit a match within fifty feet, I’d go up like a Christmas tree. Imagine me in an orange polyester suit, and white patent leather shoes with five inch tall heels. I am, “Y—-yay—us, I am talking-uh, to YYOOOOUUU.” So listen, or I will show up at your door and I’ll be wearing this whole outfit.

    You see, you can make this a great Christmas for someone. It can be anyone. Young or old, family, friend, or stranger. You may be the only one who can help some people. OPEN YOUR HEART, OPEN YOUR WALLET, GET PAST YOURSELF! open your eyes, really SEE. Look for opportunity. That’s the secret to a great Christmas not only for someone else, but for you as well. Oh yeah, you want a scripture? Well here it is, and it is absolutely true. Jesus himself said it all so clearly that Paul, who didn’t know Jesus when he was alive knew the saying: Look at it in Acts 20:35. You can easily forget my words, but don’t forget His: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

      Title: ""
      Author: Cary Branscum
      Publication Date: December 14, 2001


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