The horses and I are resting comfortably through Christmas Day with friends a couple of miles north of Martinsville.
When I packed for this trip, one thing I selected was my fatherís leather bound bible that was presented to him in 1941, when he was six years old. At that time most of the world was engaged in World War II. This war, which we would soon enter, was to become the most deadly conflict every fought by mankind. And as Christmas approached and we entered this struggle, people around the world took comfort in the message of hope described so long ago by St. Luke:
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth into Judea, unto the city of David which is called Bethlehem. To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished and she should be delivered. And she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of heavenly hosts praising of god, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men.
The events described by St. Luke were a message of hope. Hope for salvation, but also for peace and goodwill. The meaning of Christmas is not how much was spent putting gifts under a the tree; rather, itís one of hope for everyone. Christmas is a time to shake your neighborís hand and offer him into your house for a glass of eggnog. Itís time to forget and forgive differences and disappointments with family members and take them back into your lives. Itís a message to forgo a couple of rungs on the corporate ladder, and instead play catch with your kids or take them fishing. Itís a message of charity and generosity, and so much more.
MERRY CHRISTMAS from the crew of the wagon, Doc, Deedee, Joyce, Dolly, Clementine and Bob.