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,
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 ten 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.

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 their best for the show.
The children in the front row center stage held up signs with large letters,
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!
She was 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 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,
and why we celebrated the holiday in the first place.
Why even in the chaos, there was a purpose for our festivities.

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”

And, I believe, He still is.
Amazed in His presence,
Humbled by His love.

May each of you have a Merry Christmas as you reflect on His Amazing Love for us.

© 2009 – Cathy



About Paul Wharton

I am a cradle Catholic, a native West Virginian, and a priest since April 24, 1982. Spiritual Direction has made a tremendous difference in my life and I encourage people to try it out. My motto is "Progress not perfection." I am grateful that God has done for me what I could not do for myself.
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2 Responses to The “W” in Christmas

  1. Denise says:

    A sweet story.

  2. Kelly Rose says:

    Ahhhh. Too sweet. But now I’m upset that she couldn’t go to the real performance: ) Not fair. Her boss should have given her the time off. And I will dwell on this all day! Leave it to me to get caught up on the tree instead of the beautiful forest of this beautiful tale. Yes, Christ was love and is love.
    Okay, sick as a dog here. The flu is going around folks. And it’s a doozy. Don’t shake hands with anyone! Steer clear! Going on three days of high fever, body aches and chills so far. Please let this end. Back to bed now.

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