by Curt Kovener
(Christmas traditions make the winter holiday special. We share with you another of our Christmas traditions with this story from the Curt Comments archives.)
Each December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience. I had cut back on non-essential obligations— extensive card writing, endless baking, decorating, and even overspending. Yet still, I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family moments, and of course, the true meaning of Christmas.
My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting season for a 5-year old. For weeks, he’d been memorizing songs for his school’s “Winter Pageant.” I didn’t have the heart to tell him I’d be working the night of the production.
Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his teacher. She assured me there’d be a dress rehearsal the morning of the presentation. All parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then. Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise.
So, the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in ten minutes early, found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down. Around the room, I saw several other parents quietly scampering to their seats. As we waited, the students were led into the room. Each class, accompanied by their teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor. Then, one by one, each class rose to perform their song.
When my son’s class rose to sing, “Christmas Love,” Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens, red sweaters, and bright woolen toboggans upon their heads.
Those students in the front row-center stage held up large letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song.
As the class would sing “C is for Christmas,” a child would hold up the letter C.
Then, “H is for Happy,” and on and on, until each child holding up his portion had presented the complete message, “Christmas Love.”
The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her. A small, quiet, girl who had Downs Syndrome in the front row was holding her letter “M” upside down— totally unaware her letter “M” appeared as a “W”.
The audience of 1st through 6th graders snickered at this little one’s mistake. But she had no idea they were laughing at her. She stood tall, proudly holding her “W”.
Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter continued until the last letter was raised, and we all saw it together.
A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen. In that instant, we understood the reason we were there, why we celebrated, why even in the chaos, there was a purpose for our festivities.
For when the last letter was held high, the message read clearly: “CHRIST WAS LOVE”
And He still is.