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Odds & Ends
The Promise

Table of Contents

The Inn-Keeper
Makes Excuses

Soldier's Christmas

Christmas Sayings (Superstitions)

The Foolish

1 Corinthians 13 Style

A Radio Show:
Who Invented Christmas

'Twas the Night
Before Christmas



The Inn-Keeper Makes Excuses
By Edgar Guest
PDF File Worksheet

"Oh, if only I had known!"
Said the keeper of the inn.
"But no hint to me was shown,
And I didn't let them in.

"Yes, a star gleamed overhead,
But I couldn't read the skies,
And I'd given every bed
To the very rich and wise.

"And she was so poorly clad,
And he hadn't much to say!
But no room for them I had,
So I ordered them away.

"She seemed tired, and it was late
And they begged so hard, that I
Feeling sorry for her state,
In the stable let them lie.

"Had I turned some rich man out
Just to make a place for them,
'Twould have killed, beyond a doubt,
All my trade at Bethlehem.

"Then there came the wise men three
To the stable, with the morn,
Who announced they'd come to see
The great King who had been born.

"And they brought Him gifts of myrrh,
Costly frankincense and gold,
And a great light shone on her
In the stable, bleak and cold.

"All my patrons now are dead
And forgotten, but to-day
All the world to peace is led
By the ones I sent away.

"It was my unlucky fate
To be born that Inn to own
Against Christ I shut my gate
Oh, if only I had known!"


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Soldier's Christmas
Author Unknown

'Twas the night before Christmas,
He lived all alone,
In a one bedroom house
Made of plaster and stone.
I had come down the chimney
With presents to give,
And to see just who
In this home did live.

I looked all about,
A strange sight I did see,
No tinsel, no presents,
Not even a tree.
No stocking by mantle,
Just boots filled with sand,
On the wall hung pictures
Of far distant lands.

With medals and badges,
Awards of all kinds,
A sober thought
Came through my mind.
For this house was different,
It was dark and dreary,
I found the home of a soldier,
Once I could see clearly.

The soldier lay sleeping,
Silent, alone,
Curled up on the floor
In this one bedroom home.
The face was so gentle,
The room in such disorder,
Not how I pictured
A United States Soldier.

Was this the hero of
Whom I'd just read?
Curled up on a poncho,
The floor for a bed?
I realized the families
That I saw this night,
Owed their lives to these soldiers
Who were willing to fight.

Soon round the world,
The children would play,
And grownups would celebrate
A bright Christmas Day.
They all enjoyed freedom
Each month of the year,
Because of the soldiers,
Like the one lying here.

I couldn't help wonder
How many lay alone,
On a cold Christmas Eve
In a land far from home.
The very thought
Brought a tear to my eye,
I dropped to my knees
And started to cry.

The soldier awakened
And I heard a rough voice,
"Santa don't cry,
This life is my choice;
I fight for freedom,
I don't ask for more,
My life is for God,
My country, my corps."

The soldier rolled over
And drifted to sleep,
I couldn't control it,
I continued to weep.
I didn't want to leave
On that cold, dark, night,
This guardian of honor
So willing to fight.

Then the soldier rolled over,
With a voice soft and pure,
Whispered, "Carry on Santa,
It's Christmas Day, all is secure."
One look at my watch,
And I knew he was right.
"Merry Christmas my friend,
And to all a good night."


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Christmas Sayings / Superstitions

To have good health throughout the year, eat an apple on Christmas Eve.

Eat plum pudding on Christmas and avoid losing a friend before next Christmas.

On Christmas Eve all animals can speak. However, it is bad luck to test this superstition.

The child born on Christmas Day will have a special fortune.

Wearing new shoes on Christmas Day will bring bad luck.

Some in Ireland hold that those who die on Christmas Eve go straight to heaven as the gates of Heaven open at midnight.

Do not refuse mince pie at Christmas dinner otherwise you will have bad luck the following day.

Eat a raw egg before eating anything else on Christmas morning and you will be able to carry heavy weights.

Snow on Christmas means Easter will be green.

The home where a fire is kept burning throughout the Christmas season will have good luck.

Shoes placed by the side on Christmas Eve will prevent a quarreling family.

A clear star filled Christmas Eve sky will bring good crops.

If Christmas Day has a blowing wind it will bring good luck.


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The Foolish Fir-Tree
Henry Van Dyke

     A tale that the poet Rückert told
     To German children, in days of old;
     Disguised in a random, rollicking rhyme
     Like a merry mummer of ancient time,
     And sent, in its English dress, to please
     The little folk of the Christmas trees.

A LITTLE fir grew in the midst of the wood
Contented and happy, as young trees should.
His body was straight and his boughs were clean;
And summer and winter the bountiful sheen
Of his needles bedecked him, from top to root,
In a beautiful, all-the-year, evergreen suit.

But a trouble came into his heart one day,
When he saw that the other trees were gay
In the wonderful raiment that summer weaves
Of manifold shapes and kinds of leaves:
He looked at his needles so stiff and small,
And thought that his dress was the poorest of all.
Then jealousy clouded the little tree's mind,
And he said to himself, "It was not very kind
"To give such an ugly old dress to a tree!
"If the fays of the forest would only ask me,
"I'd tell them how I should like to be dressed,
"In a garment of gold, to bedazzle the rest!"
So he fell asleep, but his dreams were bad.
When he woke in the morning, his heart was glad;
For every leaf that his boughs could hold
Was made of the brightest beaten gold.
I tell you, children, the tree was proud;
He was something above the common crowd;
And he tinkled his leaves, as if he would say
To a peddler who happened to pass that way,
"Just look at me! don't you think I am fine?
"And wouldn't you like such a dress as mine?"
"Oh, yes!" said the man, "and I really guess
I must fill my pack with your beautiful dress."
So he picked the golden leaves with care,
And left the little tree shivering there.

"Oh, why did I wish for golden leaves?"
The fir-tree said, "I forgot that thieves
"Would be sure to rob me in passing by.
"If the fairies would give me another try,
"I'd wish for something that cost much less,
"And be satisfied with glass for my dress!"
Then he fell asleep; and, just as before,
The fairies granted his wish once more.
When the night was gone, and the sun rose clear,
The tree was a crystal chandelier;
And it seemed, as he stood in the morning light,
That his branches were covered with jewels bright.
"Aha!" said the tree. "This is something great!"
And he held himself up, very proud and straight;
But a rude young wind through the forest dashed,
In a reckless temper, and quickly smashed
The delicate leaves. With a clashing sound
They broke into pieces and fell on the ground,
Like a silvery, shimmering shower of hail,
And the tree stood naked and bare to the gale.

Then his heart was sad; and he cried, "Alas
"For my beautiful leaves of shining glass!
"Perhaps I have made another mistake
"In choosing a dress so easy to break.
"If the fairies only would hear me again
"I'd ask them for something both pretty and plain:
"It wouldn't cost much to grant my request,
"In leaves of green lettuce I'd like to be dressed!"
By this time the fairies were laughing, I know;
But they gave him his wish in a second; and so
With leaves of green lettuce, all tender and sweet,
The tree was arrayed, from his head to his feet.
"I knew it!" he cried, "I was sure I could find
"The sort of a suit that would be to my mind.
"There's none of the trees has a prettier dress,
"And none as attractive as I am, I guess."
But a goat, who was taking an afternoon walk,
By chance overheard the fir-tree's talk.
So he came up close for a nearer view;
"My salad!" he bleated, "I think so too!
"You're the most attractive kind of a tree,
"And I want your leaves for my five-o'clock tea."
So he ate them all without saying grace,
And walked away with a grin on his face;
While the little tree stood in the twilight dim,
With never a leaf on a single limb.

Then he sighed and groaned; but his voice was weak
He was so ashamed that he could not speak.
He knew at last that he had been a fool,
To think of breaking the forest rule,
And choosing a dress himself to please,
Because he envied the other trees.
But it couldn't be helped, it was now too late,
He must make up his mind to a leafless fate!
So he let himself sink in a slumber deep,
But he moaned and he tossed in his troubled sleep,
Till the morning touched him with joyful beam,
And he woke to find it was all a dream.
For there in his evergreen dress he stood,
A pointed fir in the midst of the wood!
His branches were sweet with the balsam smell,
His needles were green when the white snow fell.
And always contented and happy was he,
The very best kind of a Christmas tree.

1)  Henry Van Dyke was a Presbyterian minister
2)  The German poet Friedrich Rückert lived from 1788 to 1866


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Christmas 1 Corinthians 13 Style
Author Unknown

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home, and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata, but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.

Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.

Love is kind, though harried and tired.

Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way.

Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return, but rejoices in giving to those who can't.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all

Love never fails. Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf
clubs will rust ... but giving the gift of love will endure.


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A Radio Show:  Who Invented Christmas
Author Unknown

This morning I heard a story on the radio of a woman who was out Christmas shopping with her two children.  After many hours of looking at row after row of toys and everything else imaginable and after hours of hearing both her children asking for everything they saw on those many shelves, she finally made it to the elevator with her two kids.

She was feeling what so many of us feel during the holiday season time of the year.  Overwhelming pressure to go to every party, every housewarming, taste all the holiday food and treats, getting that perfect gift for every single person on our shopping list, making sure we don't forget anyone on our card list, and the pressure of making sure we respond to everyone who sent us a card.

Finally the elevator doors opened and there was already a crowd in the car.  She pushed her way into the car and dragged her two kids in with her and all the bags of stuff.  When the doors closed she couldn't take it anymore and stated, "Whoever started this whole Christmas thing should be found, strung up and shot."

From the back of the car everyone heard a quiet calm voice respond, "Don't worry we already crucified Him."  For the rest of the trip down the elevator it was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop.

Don't forget this year to keep the One who started this whole Christmas thing in your every thought, deed, purchase, and word. If we all did it, just think of how different this whole world would be.


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'Twas the Night
Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas
   and all through the town
Not a sign of Baby Jesus
   was anywhere to be found.

The people were all busy
   with Christmas time chores
Like decorating, and baking,
   and shopping in stores.

No one sang "Away in a manger,
   no crib for a bed".
Instead, they sang of Santa
   dressed-up in bright red.

Mama watched Martha Stewart,
    Papa drank beer from a tap.
As hour upon hour
    the presents they'd wrap

When what from the T.V.
    did they suddenly hear?
'Cept an ad which told
    of a big sale at Sears.

So away to the mall
    they all flew like a flash
Buying things on credit
    and others with cash!

And, as they made their way home
    from their trip to the mall,
Did they think about Jesus?
    Oh, no ... not at all.

Their lives were so busy
    with their Christmas time things
No time to remember that
    Christ Jesus, is our King.

There were presents to wrap
    and cookies to bake.
How could they stop and remember
    Who died for their sake?

To pray to the Savior
    they had no time to stop.
Because they needed more time
    to "Shop til they dropped!"

On Wal-mart!  On K-mart!
    On Target!  On Penney's!
On Hallmark!  On Zales!
    A quick lunch at Denny's

From the big stores downtown
    to the stores at the mall
They would dash away, dash away,
    and visit them all!

And up on the roof,
   there arose such a clatter
As grandpa hung icicle lights
   up on his brand new step ladder.

He hung lights that would flash.
   He hung lights that would twirl.
Yet, he never once prayed to Jesus
   our Light of the world.

Christ's eyes ... how they twinkle!
Christ's Spirit ... how merry!
Christ's love ... how enormous!
All our burdens ... He'll carry!

So instead of being busy,
   overworked, and uptight
Let's put
Christ back in
Christmas and enjoy some good nights


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