The Richmond Register

December 18, 2012

Christmas! My favorite time of the year

Just Thinking

By Dick Ham
Register Columnist

RICHMOND — I was just thinking the other day about the fact that when you receive this edition of the Richmond Register, we will be exactly one week from Christmas Day.  

Christmas is the only day in the year when this newspaper does not publish. That means this will be my only opportunity to write about Christmas and to wish my wonderful readers a very merry Christmas.

Christmas really is my favorite time of the year. Everyone seems to be happier, even crowds of shoppers seem to treat one another more kindly than at any other time of the year.

There are wonderful Christmas pageants, musical programs, and we all seem to be more generous in helping those who are less fortunate.

My favorite Christmas service at church is conducted on Christmas Eve. I always leave with a warm heart and with joyful happiness.

Christmas brings back so many memories from my childhood. I honestly wonder if there has ever been anyone who loved and enjoyed Christmas as much as my dad. Gifts in our home were very small, but given and received with much love.

One year, our friend who lived down the street, Jimmy McCubbin, got a new Schwinn bicycle for Christmas. Mom and Dad explained that although Santa delivers gifts, they were obligated to pay him for them and that was more than they could afford. We never questioned that.

After my brother and I no longer believed in Santa, Christmas Eve was the time for exchanging gifts. We sat in the floor in front of the Christmas tree. That was always a Cedar tree, decorated with simple ornaments and with lights that were of the old fashioned kind that when a bulb burned out, the entire strand of lights went off. We then would take a new bulb and painstakingly work through the strand until we found the burned out one.

Dad would remind us of the real meaning and reason for the celebration, then he would read the account of Jesus’ birth from Luke’s gospel. Then we opened gifts, one at a time.

Each gift was displayed and the giver was thanked before another one was opened. It is still among my most pleasant memories.

I’m convinced that children love Christmas more than anyone else. Some of my favorite stories involve children.

A group of children were in a Sunday school class and the teacher asked, “What can you tell me about the devil?” There was silence for a few seconds, then little Johnny spoke up. “It’s just like Santa Claus. It’s your daddy.”

A department store Santa took a small girl on his lap and asked, “Now tell me the first thing you plan to do on Christmas morning.” She thought for a moment, scratched her head and replied, “Wake up.”

A mother and her little boy were in the car on their way to a department store to visit Santa. She asked him, “Son, what are you going to ask Santa for?” He answered, “I’ll ask for a skateboard like Jerry’s.” Mom said, “Thad, you really shouldn’t go through life wanting and asking for things others have.” He replied, “What else is there to want?”

Children were in a Sunday school class and were drawing Christmas pictures. The teacher looked at one child’s picture and said, “I see Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, the shepherds, wise men, and a lot of animals but who is this little round man in the corner?” The child said, “That’s round John Virgin.”

To all my faithful readers, Merry Christmas.

My next Just Thinking column will appear on New Year’s day.

TRIVIA ANSWER — Paducah is the only city in Kentucky named for an Indian. It was named for Chickasaw Chief Paduke.

TRIVIA QUESTION — What Kentuckian served as the first U.S. Ambassador to communist East Germany?

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY — Grandkids are proof that God loves us. They are usually spoiled because no one will spank Grandma.