Holiday Edition, 2011

There is no Santa Claus

by Rose Panico

I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma. I was just a kid.

I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: "There is no Santa Claus," she jeered. "Even dummies know that!"

My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her "world-famous" cinnamon buns. I knew they were world-famous, because Grandma said so. It had to be true.

Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me. "No Santa Claus?" she snorted...."Ridiculous! Don't believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad!! Now, put on your coat, and let's go."

"Go? Go where, Grandma?" I asked. I hadn't even finished my second world-famous cinnamon bun. "Where" turned out to be Kerby's General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days. "Take this money," she said, "and buy something for someone who needs it. I'll wait for you in the car." Then she turned and walked out of Kerby's.

I was only eight years old. I'd often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping.

For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for. I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, the people who went to my church.

I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobby Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock's grade-two class. Bobby Decker didn't have a coat. I knew that because he never went out to recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all we kids knew that Bobby Decker didn't have a cough; he didn't have a good coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobby Decker a coat!

I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that.

"Is this a Christmas present for someone?" the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down. "Yes, ma'am," I replied shyly. "It's for Bobby." The nice lady smiled at me, as I told her about how Bobby really needed a good winter coat. I didn't get any change, but she put the coat in a bag, smiled again, and wished me a Merry Christmas.

That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat (a little tag fell out of the coat, and Grandma tucked it in her Bible) in Christmas paper and ribbons and wrote, "To Bobby, From Santa Claus" on it.

Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobby Decker's house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially, one of Santa's helpers.

Grandma parked down the street from Bobby's house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk. Then Grandma gave me a nudge. "All right, Santa Claus," she whispered, "get going."

I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his door and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma.

Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobby.

Fifty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my Grandma, in Bobby Decker's bushes. That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were -- ridiculous. Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team.

I still have the Bible, with the coat tag tucked inside: $19.95.

May you always have LOVE to share,

HEALTH to spare and FRIENDS that care...

And may you always believe in the magic of Santa Claus!
 


The First Christmas

by Dr. Bobby Braile

Nearly 2000 years ago the baby Jesus was born in a manger in Bethlehem. This blessed event would have been looked upon quite differently if seen from a medical perspective. Let us examine the so-called "modern" thinking about this event.

What a big risk our Heavenly Father took when He sent His Son to us in the way He did. First of all, the Virgin Mary was much to young to bear such an important child. Plus, no tests were performed to see if she was even capable of carrying the child full term. Also, Mary was not adequately prepared. She attended no birthing classes, did not practice her breathing, nor did she read up on the birth process.

It should also be noted that some safety procedures were ignored during this pregnancy. I mean, no blood tests were done, no obstetric examinations, no ultra sound, or even the listening and monitoring of the child's heart beat. And surely, for such an important baby, an amniocentesis should have been done! Not even the proper regime of vitamins was given to the mother for her nutrition. When you think about it, we're taking a major risk here.

And just think of the terrible conditions for the birth itself. Certainly the stable was not sterile. And with all those animals in the same room it's a wonder there wasn't a major infection. Not even simple clean sheets, or surgical masks for the three Wise Men were used. And I'm quite sure that Mary was not on the proper delivery table with her feet in the stirrups.

If that's not bad enough, common medical practice was ignored from this point on. Certainly an important woman like Mary should have been given some pain relievers or a spinal block to help ease her discomfort. Of course an episiotomy would have been called for to help out. I'll bet that a set of clamps weren't even available in case of need. Not to mention the lack of fetal monitoring equipment in case an emergency cesarean was required. I mean this whole procedure sounds like a nightmare.

From there on it still got worse. No surgical instruments to cut the cord, no silver nitrate for the baby's eyes, no fetal intensive care units, no alcohol rubs, no temperature control cubicles, no suction of the child's nose or throat, none of the modern safety precautions that should have been used.

The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced this entire procedure was a menace to the mother and child. Someone should be liable for mal-practice in a case like this. With the state of things as they were, I'll bet the child Jesus never even got His required vaccinations!

I don't know,... but if it were up to modern medicine, this should have been done much differently. God sure took a big chance.....

... or maybe we need to rethink the things we think are necessary and stop interfering with normal God-given miracles.



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