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Inspirational Christmas Stories

Story ID:4582
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:various various USA
Year:2008
Person:various
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Last night I watched an old Christmas movie called Silent Night. It is
based on a true story of a German mother and her young son who make a
home in a rural log cabin during WWII. Three American soldiers come upon
it looking for shelter for the night. She welcomes them in and soon a bond
is forged when 3 German soldiers come on the scene --dismayed by what
they consider a treasonous situation. However, she manages to dispell their
anger and wisely offers them refuge as well-- insisting that all hostility be
abandoned on this most holy of nights - Christmas Eve.

You may have seen it before. In my opinion, it is worth seeing again. I found
it so inspiring to watch and listen to the German woman, who with her bold
and wise words, is able to mediate a peaceful Christmas Eve between the two
mortal enemies of WWII. Though there were tense moments on that Christmas
Eve between the German and American soldiers, they do manage a truce of
sorts even though the German officer finds diffculty with it --especially when
he sees the German cross of valour poking out of the pack of the American
soldier who, ironically, is the most peace-loving of the bunch. However, this
woman of indominatable courage manges to dissipate his furious anger and all
is well until a German soldier appears masquerating as an American soldier.
This new twist causes danger to the Americans, but you will have to see the
movie if you want to know how this plays out. The one thing I can tell you is
that the next morning each group goes its own separate way -- but with a new
found and healthy respect for the other.

I also found some little Christmas stories in the December Catholic Digest
which I shall not be renewing. But I thought I would share a couple of the
poignant ones from it. Christmas stories always seem to have a happy
ending --despite the often sad circumstances which surround them. And
thankfully, so they should.

Years ago I remember reading about this wonderful Catholic skipper
who made it to a Korean coast during the 1950's conflict where he
found just too many S. Koreans stranded and desperate to distance
themselves from the invading North Korean Communists. Somehow -
only God knows how -he manages to get them all on his freighter
and they steam away safely to a friendly harbor to disembark just in
time for Christmas. This exceptional skipper later became either
a Brother or a Priest in Boston. I was surprised that when choosing
this topic, he immediately came to mind, but obviously he made a deep
impression on me.

And then, I often think of the Kansas City Santa - a businessman who spent
Christmases giving out $100 bills to the needy in this lucky city. He has died
since but not before appointing a surrogate Santa to keep up this tradition.
Would that there be such Santas the nation over! However, I'm sure that
there are some who respond in different ways to spread the love and peace
of this holy Christmas season.

Now a story from the December Catholic Digest 2008 entitled "Snowed in at
the airport" by Jeanne Knape. Several years ago Jeanne was booked on a flight
from Kansas to Washington D.C. to visit her grandniece and her husband. They
were missionaries in China and were only going to be in the states for a few
days.

The weather was not cooperating and flight after flight was canceled. As
the weather worsened, tempers became short. And Jeanne realized that
her only chance was on one of 4 remaining flights. She decided to read the
book she brought along in her tote bag when she spotted the box filled
with the raspberry chocolate cookies she had made for her nieces and nephews.

She opened the box to eat one and then decided to offer one to the lady next
to her. Well, you can guess the rest. Short tempers dissipated as she opened
that box of very special labor-intensive cookies with expensive ingredients to
her frustrated and fellow weary travelers - some with children. Somehow, that kind
gesture of sharing those cookies with these very discouraged people brought smiles
of pleasure and gratitude as they partook of this delicious tidbit. Before long other
people began sharing either a Christmas box of chocolates or other goodies meant
for family and friends but now offered in a Christmas spirit of sharing with their
fellow stranded travelers.

As Jeanne was never able to get a boarding pass to Washington D.C.,
she left the airport for home two hours later - feeling good and warm inside --
knowing that she had helped to turn the holiday which was going so wrong
into something special.

Another story of celebrating the true meaning of Christmas also happened in
an airport - this one in Lansing, Michigan. It is appropriately entitled "The
unexpected Christmas gift" and was written by John Schneider.

Maria Rozel, an airline agent, encountered a problem with a ticket held by a
woman on her way to Atlanta to visit her seriously ill sister. The husband of
the sick woman was not available to verify the credit card transaction and so
the woman had no ticket or the means to buy one.

A well-dressed excecutive-type man approached the airline agent clearly
upset because he missed his plane when he realized she was still busy
with the woman in front of him who was in tears. But this seemingly
grouch- overhearing part of the conversation, offered to use his frequent
flyer points to buy the woman a round-trip ticket to Atlanta. The grateful
woman said that she didn't need a round trip ticket because she was going to
drive her sister's four children back to Lansing with her. Kansas must have
a lot of big-hearted businessmen because, hearing this - he offered all his
accumulated 125,000 frequent flyer points to cover the return flight of the
lady and her sister's four children. He said he didn't want a woman driving
all the way back to Lansing in potentially bad weather.

Reading this, I unabashedly cried. There are good people in this world and it
seems Christmas brings out the best in many of them.

The last Christmas story I will recount from this Catholic Digest is "The
soldiers who brought Christmas treats" by Curt Melliger. He retells the story
of December of 1944 --somewhere in France where his father, an Army
sergeant, found himself in the final, bitter cold winter of World War II during
one of the coldest winters of the last 50 years.

Thirty German divisions had taken Allied forces by surprise -storming
through the Ardennes forest, creating a bulge in the Allied front. Hitler's
final gamble would be the single biggest and bloodiest battle of the war, but the
Battle of the Bulge would also produce acts of bravery as well as a moving
simple one of kindness.

In subfreezing temperatures along the line, Curt's father and his platoon
holed up in a tiny almost demolished village. They had nothing to eat except
C-rations and these were not nearly as good as the modern day MRE (meals
ready to eat.) However, the sliced peaches in syrup and the chocolate
brownies were considered edible.

Winter provided a cessation of hostilities and Curt's father came up with
an idea. He asked his men to start saving their peaches and brownies
for a special reason. The reason became apparent when everyone was
invited to the village plaza for a Christmas celebration.

The soldiers built a bonfire and sang Christmas carols. And then the "big"
surprise for the French children who had endured 3 years of deprivation,
hunger, and horror. The soldiers doled out their saved peaches and brownies
into their outstretched hands. Somehow -everyone experienced the pure
delight of seeing these suffering children hungrily devour these sweets
with so much relish that they all experienced a warm feeling at the sight.

That Christmas Eve proved special for soldiers and villagers alike. For a
short time they both forgot the terrible violence of war. No one in that village
would ever forget the simple gesture which brought such simple joy to their
children. And I'm sure that the soldiers would always be glad that they had
shared the "best" part of their C-Rations with the war-torn children of that
little village in France. After all, isn't that the true meaning and spirit of
Christmas?

I also enjoyed reading the postscript at the bottom of this story re MREs "Modern
C-rations":

"Unlike the troops of World War II whose meals consisted of very basic pork
or beef meat product and daily "essentials" like toilet paper and cigarettes,
today's soldiers choose from up to 24 entrees like chili and beans, chicken
fajitas, or veggie burgers in BBQ sauce, and from up to 150 additional sides
and drinks that make up today's MREs, or "meals, ready to eat." U.S ARMY

I was delighted to read of the inclusion of "veggie" burgers. It tells me that
there are indeed "macho" soldiers who are also probably vegetarian.

Why will this probably be the last Catholic Digest I will be reading? The word
"Catholic" means universal and has generally applied to the openess of the
church to be accepting of all peoples regardless of race or color. But for me
the word has wider scope and we should be concerned not only with humans
but with all that God has created and that includes the animals. There is
almost no mention of them in this magazine and sadly, they are not even
mentioned in our churches. Their needs are not being met by religious
organizations and this saddens me. Animals are God's creatures too and
everything He made is good.

However, I was happy and surprised to read Fyodor Dostoyevsky's wonderful
thoughts in this Catholic Digest's "Quiet Moment" for December 6th:

"Love the animals, love the plants, love everything.
If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things.
Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day.
And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all- embracing love."