And So This Was Christmas

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS!... HAVE A GOOD CHRISTMAST!... YOU MUST COME OVER AND VISIT US DURING THE HOLIDAYS!... STOP BY FOR A CHRISTMAS DRINK!... A never ending stream of happy greetings reverberated among the crowds as Jack trudged the slowly diminishing hoards of Christmas shoppers. The gently falling snow had almost filled his shoes through the holes in the worn soles. It was hard to imagine not being able to purchase a new pair of shoes when his closet used to be so full he could scarcely find them all. The only gift he would receive this year was the coat he had finally been forced to pick up this morning from the Salvation Army. He had to muster all his strength to swallow his pride and accept the charity. “Some rich person, no doubt, who has cleared his closet in anticipation of a large amount Christmas loot” he grumbled. Finally Jack slumped beside a store-front feeling total exasperated and sobbed “Good God – how did this ever happen to me”?

 

Jack had graduated from a prominent business school at the top of his class and quickly established himself as the #1 salesman with a leading computer company. In a period of only two years he was responsible for 5 salespeople and on a dream path to become the youngest-ever district manager. Jack’s home life was a mirror image of his career success; married to a top-notch interior designer who had given him two beautiful children – he appeared to have it all. Certainly Jack was convinced of his unbeatable good fortune and his false sense of invincibility began to extract a toll. His declining productivity and increasing alcohol consumption put an end tragically to his brief golden age in a fatal car accident that took his wife’s life and left him so guilt-ridden that he was ineffective at work.

 

Jack continued his journey of no destination – he had no idea where he was going, but it was Christmas Eve and there were two children at home eagerly awaiting Santa’s arrival – But Jack was flat broke.

 

Suddenly, through the stillness of the night Jack could hear the sweet sound of children’s voices singing “Silent Night, Holy Night, all is calm, all is bright…” as he strained to see – further up the street he could make out a group of carollers visiting a housing development for the aged – bringing Christmas tidings to the infirm and shut-ins. Jack was taken aback! Christmas for him always had the shallow roots of self indulgence:

-Endless parties, last minute shopping; culminating in large bills. By the time New Year’s Eve arrived the whole exercise felt hollow and tedious.

 

He approached the carollers cautiously and a young girl in the back row, sensing his presence, held out a song sheet and said, “Please mister we could use some help”. Jack’s first inclination was to bolt away, but he remained riveted where he stood and reached for the sheet. They sang, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”, “Good King Wenceslas”, “O, Come all Ye Faithful” and many others. When they had finished a senior member of the group closed by reading “I Bring you Good tidings of Great Joy, which shall be to all people – for unto you is born this day in the city of David – A Saviour, which is Christ the Lord”. Looking at the old couples in wheelchairs, their faces streaming with tears of happiness – Jack felt himself beginning to choke up but also felt an incredible sense of inner peace. Somehow Jack knew everything would be alright – The Miracle of CHRISTMAS Jack hoped for had arrived.