By Rosie Moore

“One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. and sixty-six cents of it was in pennies.” So begins O’Henry’s short story, “The Gift of the Magi,” about a young couple and how they deal with the challenge of buying secret Christmas gifts for each other with very little money. As a sentimental story with a moral lesson about gift giving, it has been a popular one for adaptation, especially  for presentation during the Christmas season. How they managed to get each other a gift that turned into a startling happy, yet sad ending, makes for a popular Christmastime story.

“Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents,” grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.

“It’s so dreadful to be poor?” sighed Meg.

“I don’t think it’s fair for some girls to have plenty of pretty things, and other girls nothing at all,” added little Amy, with an injured sniff.

“We’ve got father and mother and each other,” said Beth contentedly from her corner.

These words, written by Louisa May Alcott, born 1832, in Germantown, Pennsylvania, are from that one piece of work that embedded itself into the culture and continues to be enjoyed by every generation since publication. Although not exactly a Christmas story it embodies the lives of four sisters, detailing their passage from, childhood to womanhood and is loosely based on the author and her three sisters.  A must read for “children of all ages.”

Clement C. Moore, born 1779, died, 1863 was an American scholar and poet, who wrote, The Night Before Christmas” to entertain his children. A friend submitted it to a local newspaper where it was published in December 23, 1833. His delightful description of Saint Nicholas and his eight flying reindeer has since become the definitive portrait of Santa Claus.

Everyone knows the famous novella by Charles Dickens called, “A Christmas Carol.” It was first published in 1843 and has been seen in the movies and on television since the electronic age has come about. The story of a bitter, old miser named Ebenezer Scrooge and his transformation into a kindlier, gentler   man after visitations from the ghost of his business partner and the Ghost of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come.

The greatest story of all time is found in the Bible, in the book of Isaiah, Chapter 9, verse 6, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace”.

Let’s remember that Christ is in Christmas and keep Him there.

Thought for the day: He who has not Christmas in his heart, will never find it under a tree.

Roy L. Smith, a Methodist minister

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