The Reason

I was babysitting my four children while my wife had gone shopping. Babysitting to me, was reading the paper while my wife had gone shopping. Babysitting to me was reading the paper while the kids mess up the house. Only that day I wasn't reading. I was fuming. On every other page of the paper there were glittering gifts and prancing reindeer. The only thing I was told was there were only six more days to buy presents. What, I asked myself indignantly, did this have to do with the birth of Christ?

There was a knock on the door. Then Nancy's voice, "Daddy, we have a play to put on. Would you like to see it?" I didn't. But I have fatherly responsibilities so I followed her into the livingroom. Right away I knew it was a Christmas play for at the foot of the piano stool was a lighted flashlight wrapped in swaddling clothes lying on a shoebox.

Rex, age six, came in wearing my bathrobe and carrying a mop handle. He sat on the stool and looked at the flashlight. Nancy, age ten, draped a sheet over her head. stood behind Rex, and began, "I'm Mary and this boy is Joseph. Usually in this play Joseph stands up and Mary sits down, but Mary sitting down is taller than Joseph standing up so we thought it looked better this way."

Enters Trudy, age four, at a full run. There were pillowcases over her arms. She spread them wide and said only "I'm an angel."

Then came Ann, age eight. I knew she was a wise man because she had on her mother's high heels and walked like she was a wise man riding a camel. On a pillow she carried three items, undoubtedly gold, frankincense, and myrrh. She walked acros the room and announced, "I'm all three wisemen. I bring precious gifts: gold, circumstance, and mud."

That was all. The play was over. I didn't laugh, I prayed. How near the truth Ann was. We come at Christmas burdened down with gold, with the showy gifts and the tinsel tree. Under the circumstance we can do no other. And it really does seem a bit like mud when you think about it. But my children saw through the earthly and found the real reason for Christmas -- to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

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