Henry and Harriett knew that their Christmas dinner this year would be like all the others, catered! In fact, neither one of them could recall their mother, Hazel, ever cooking a real Christmas dinner. For years, all dinners had been brought in and it looked like nothing but catered, for the future. This year Harriett and Henry decided to go on a “catered food strike.” Yes, rebellion was in the air! They wanted a real home cooked meal and that was that!
The children spoke to their father, Harold about getting a real home cooked meal for Christmas. Harold shoke his head, knowing his wife never cooked anything bigger than bacon and eggs or a quick mix pizza. Hazel hated cooking and made sure everyone knew it. Harold tried to explain this to the children but finally advised them to ask their mother. Maybe, just maybe, she would relent, he thought.
Henry and Harriett thought over their father’s advice. After thinking the situation through, the children decided that rather than face their mother’s wrath, they would endure another brought-in meal.
Christmas day arrived. At noon the caterers arrived. Their mother, Hazel, sat at the head of the dinner table ready to be served while the children and their father sat on either side of the table, attentive to her needs. The children nibbled some of the food laid out before them. A huge cooked turkey sat in the middle of the table. It was about 20 pounds, the children guessed. Dressing, cranberries and desert surrounded the huge turkey. Soon, the children lost all interest in the dinner and left to watch TV.
In the afternoon, Hazel wanted to go to the Mall to see if any stores might be open so she could exchange some gifts she received. She often didn’t like what people got her for Christmas. Harold packed his family into their brand new station wagon and all were on their way. He used a short cut, going down some side streets. Henry and Harriett looked through the car windows and realized their father was driving through a bad part of town. They became frightened and nervous. What would happen to them if the car broke down?
“Hurry up, father! Drive faster!” they both cried.
“What are we doing in this part of town anyway?” Hazel asked. “You know that this is a dangerous area, don’t you, Harold?”
“Yes, I do, he answered. ‘I wanted all of you to see something before we go to the Mall.”
Slowly Harold pulled into a gravel driveway and stopped. In front of them was an old, one story brick building, all run down.
“I want the children to come with me,” he said getting out of the car.” Where are we going, father?” Harriett was a bit anxious. This was something the family had never done before.
“We are going to take the remains of our Christmas dinner to the people who live in this shelter. Every year your mother orders more than we can eat and every year I bring what’s left here for these people to enjoy. This year I thought maybe you’d like to help me.”
Hazel sat in the car listening to her husband with an astonished look on her face. She thought out loud, “So that’s where the leftovers go!”
“That’s right, Hazel. OK kids, let’s go!”
As the children followed their father into the shelter, they saw many people waiting for them. Never before had the children seen people who had so little to eat. The people looked tired, poor and hungry. All of their lives Harriett and Henry had everything they wanted. Today their father brought them face to face with an entirely different world. For the first time in their lives, they learned what Christmas and sharing was all about. For them, Christmas would never be the same. They would never forget the smiles and joy of the people in the shelter. Harriett and Henry finally had a wonderful Christmas and so did the people of the shelter!
Post script: Christmas is a wonderful and joyous time of year but when material things become more important, as in the story above, then it loses the real meaning of Christmas. The true meaning of Christmas for all Christians is that Christ was born to save sinners. Without Christ, there would indeed be no Christmas.
Merry Christmas to everyone!
Copyright 2016 Toni Star