The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

December 18, 2012

Christmas lessons

By Peggy Goodrich, columnist
Enid News and Eagle

— What have you learned about celebrating a true Christmas? Think about it.

I think this could also be called “What are you giving for Christmas?” because they are almost the same article.

When we are little kids, we think mostly about Santa Claus and what he will bring us. We concentrate on being good so we will get lots of presents. We leave the shopping for grandparents up to the parents to wrap and label from us to them.

It was always a tradition in our family that when a kid really knew who Santa Claus was and the gifts he delivered and the letters and all, that that the kid got to help be Santa. We were in on some of the secrets and the wrapping and the surprises. It was then that we began to learn about the true meaning of Christmas all year. We began to realize what the Christ Child meant and why he was sent to Earth for us. I am still learning.

My sweet friend, Raymonde, sent us this beautiful Christmas greetings that I must share with you. It is called “The Best of All Holidays”

“A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law and 4-year-old grandson.

“The old man’s hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred and his step faltered.

“The family ate together at the table, but the elderly grandfather’s hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth

“The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess. ‘We must do something about father,’ said the son. ‘I have had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating and food on the floor.’

“So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner. Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl.

“When the family glanced in Grandfather’s direction, sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food.

“The 4-year-old watched it all in silence.

“One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, ‘What are you making?’ ‘Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up.’ The 4-year-old smiled and went back to work.

“The words so struck the parents that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done.

“That evening the husband took Grandfather’s hand and gently lead him back to the family table. For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family ... and for some reason neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled or the tablecloth soiled.

“On a positive note, I have learned that no matter what happens, how bad it seems today, life does go on and it will be better tomorrow.

“I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he or she handles four things: a rainy day, the elderly, lost luggage and tangled Christmas tree lights.

“I’ve learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life.

“I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.

“I’ve learned that you should not go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back sometimes.

“I’ve learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you. But if you focus on God, your family, your friends and the needs of others, your work and doing the best you can, happiness will find you.

“I’ve learned that when I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.

“I’ve learned that when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.

“I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love that human touch, holding hands, a warm hug or just a friendly pat on the back.

“I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.”

I do not know where Raymonde got this message, or if she wrote it herself, but it is awesome and certainly reflects the true meaning of Christmas.

For my recent birthday, I received a double crock pot from Linda and Forrest, so for our Christmas evening get-together, I will make chili and this wonderful potato soup that was shared with me at Jim’s physical rehab.

Cream Cheese Potato Chowder

1 package frozen O’Brien potatoes

1 package diced ham

1 medium onion, diced

dill weed

garlic salt

8 ounces cream cheese

Cook potatoes, ham and onion in enough water to cover. Stir in seasonings and cream cheese. Add more water as desired. Suit yourself. We like it thick like chowder. You may like it soupier. Add seasonings that your family enjoys, too. You might want to add some chopped celery when cooking. Keep warm in the crock pot. It gets better and better.

May your Christmas be merry and the love of Christ surround you.

Send your comments to: Peggy Goodrich, Food For Thought, P.O. Box 1192, Enid, OK 73702.