A real Christmas story
“God is not found in monasteries, but in our homes. Wherever you find husband and wife, that's where you find God; wherever children and petty cares and cooking and arguments and reconciliation are, that's where God is too. The God I'm telling about, the domestic one, not the monastic one, that's the real God.” Nikos Kazantzakis
From Chicken Soup for the Soul, by Linda C. Stafford
“My husband and I had been happily married (most of the time) for five years but hadn't been blessed with a baby.
I decided to do some serious praying and promised God that if he would give us a child, I would be a perfect mother, love it with all my heart and raise it with His word as my guide.”
In the next four years God blessed them with three sons and a daughter. “My husband thought we'd been blessed right into poverty,” Linda said. “I learned never to ask God for anything unless I meant it. As a minister once told me, ‘If you pray for rain, make sure you carry an umbrella.’”
Life had its challenges. Each day Linda would read verses from the bible to the children. “I tried to be patient the day the children smashed two dozen eggs on the kitchen floor searching for baby chicks.
“I tried to be understanding... when they started a hotel for homeless frogs in the spare bedroom, although it took me nearly two hours to catch all twenty-three frogs. When my daughter poured ketchup all over herself and rolled up in a blanket to see how it felt to be a hot dog.
“In spite of changing over twenty-five thousand diapers, never eating a hot meal and never sleeping for more than thirty minutes at a time, I still thank God daily for my children.
“While I couldn't keep my promise to be a perfect mother - I didn't even come close... I did keep my promise to raise them in the Word of God.
“I knew I was missing the mark just a little when I told my daughter we were going to church to worship God, and she wanted to bring a bar of soap along to ‘wash up’ Jesus, too.
“Something was lost in the translation when I explained that God gave us everlasting life, and my son thought it was generous of God to give us his ‘last wife.’
“[During the] Christmas pageant. My daughter was playing Mary, two of my sons were shepherds and my youngest son was a wise man…
“My five-year-old shepherd had practiced his line, ‘We found the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes.’ But he was nervous and said, ‘The baby was wrapped in wrinkled clothes.’
“A wrestling match broke out between Mary and the shepherd and was stopped by an angel, who bent her halo and lost her left wing.
“I slouched a little lower in my seat when Mary dropped the doll representing Baby Jesus, and it bounced down the aisle crying, ‘Mama-mama.’
“Mary grabbed the doll, wrapped it back up and held it tightly as the wise men arrived.
“My other son… announced, ‘We are the three wise men, and we are bringing gifts of gold, common sense and fur.’
“ ‘I've never enjoyed a Christmas program as much as this one,’ laughed the pastor, wiping tears from his eyes.
"‘My children are my pride and my joy and my greatest blessing,’ I said as I dug through my purse for an aspirin.”