Christmas is a wonderful day of the year, as you well know.
It’s special for kids, too, even though sometimes they don’t quite get the facts straight.
To illustrate this, Bob Hale, a former North Dakotan who now lives in Glen Arm, Md., sent some true stories to Neighbors. He titled them “Christmas Through a Child’s Eyes.”
Flying to Egypt
“When I was a teenager,” Bob writes, “I went on a work camp to northern North Dakota. There I taught in my first Vacation Bible School.
“One of the children in it told me that the baby Jesus was found in the bulrushes. That child had gotten Jesus mixed up with Moses.
“When children hear new words,” Bob notes, “they connect them to words they already know. Once we were sitting around the dining room table with our daughter and her daughters. The adults were talking about a microwave. Rachel’s ears perked up and she said, ‘Michael waved?’
“Mishearing probably is the origin of the following incidents.
“Another child drew a picture of Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus in a stable. The teacher looked at the picture and asked, ‘Who is that man standing next to Joseph?’
“‘That’s Round John Virgin, like in the song ‘Silent Night, Round John Virgin, mother and child,’ the child answered.
“British children were interviewed to find out what they knew about Christmas. One of the questions was this: What animals were in and around the stable?
“A 6-year-old girl had an interesting list: ‘At his birth there were oxens, a donkey, 3 camels, 3 birds — all white — and 3 cats — all black.’
“A 7-year-old boy had a different answer: ‘’There were sheep, horses and a crocodile.
“Perhaps,” Bob says, “the crocodile was on guard duty. And that reminds me of a kid who told his parents that they sang a song at Sunday School about a bear named Gladly, who was cross-eyed. One line in the song was, ‘Gladly the cross I bear.’
Another child said, “When the old king of the Jews was told by the wise men that a new king was to be born in Bethlehem, he was shocked and his hair stood on end. That’s why people called him Hair-Rod.
“It was then that Hair-Rod decided to bump off Jesus. That’s why Mary and Joseph took their baby on a flight into Egypt. Another kid drew a picture of the flight. Mary and Joseph and the baby were in tourist class, and flying the plane was Pontius the Pilot.
“What gifts did the wise men bring to the stable? One boy had the answer: ’The 3 Wise Guys brought gold, Frankenstein and manure.’ That’s pretty close to frankincense and myrrh. But the British kids thought that the baby Jesus would much rather have received a blanket, biscuits or toys, especially Legos.
“During a Christmas pageant, Mary and Joseph came up to the inn and asked for a room. The boy playing the part of the innkeeper said, ‘Sorry, but the inn is full. You can use the stable out back.
“When Mary and Joseph turned sadly away, the boy said, ‘Wait, come on in — we’ll work something out.’
“The teacher directing the pageant called out from backstage, ‘Send them away! Send them away!
“The boy replied, ‘I can’t do that.’
“The audience was touched by the boy’s tender heart.”
Former N.D. pastor
Let’s pause for a moment and tell you something about Bob, who sent these stories in.
He grew up in Grand Forks and had all his schooling there. He went to the University of North Dakota, then seminary in Chicago.
Then he came back to North Dakota and served churches at Rolla and Dunseith for four years, then Harvey and Goodrich for another four years.
Now back to his email to Neighbors.
Rekindle the wonder
“When I checked the internet for other illustrations,“ he continues, “I found a Christmas message by (speaker and author) Dr. David Jeremiah. He told the following story.
“In one church, an electric cord was laid across the stage to shine a light on the Jesus doll in the manger. However, someone tripped over the cord and pulled it out of the wall socket. One of the shepherds said, ‘Hey, you just unplugged Jesus!’
“Dr. Jeremiah closed his Christmas message with these words: ‘This Christmas, I encourage you to rekindle the wonder of Christmas that you may have had as a child. Be excited, be playful, be as extravagant as you can, and be a model of the excitement that God has when he bestows gifts on us. And if you’re feeling blue this Christmas, find a kid and brew up some hot chocolate — and you’ll discover afresh the joys of Christmas.
“As our daughter used to say 60 years ago: ‘Merry Christmas tree.’”
If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107, fax it to 701-241-5487 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.