Posted in Christian, Family and Society, Stories Around the World

Countdown to Christmas

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas;
Soon the bells will start,
And the thing that will make them ring
Is the carol that you sing
Right within your heart.” ~ Meredith Willson, “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas”

With carols in the air and knitted stockings labelled and hung up, the countdown to Christmas begins. Tuning to the “Nine Lessons and Carols” which tells of the birth of Christ and the carol stories; carols have been an early accepted part of Christmas celebrations.

 

Derived from Old French “carole”, the word Carol actually means dance or a song of praise and joy. Although carols used to be written and sung during yer round, only the tradition of singing them at Christmas has really survived. During the early years of Christianity, the songs of the pagan solstice celebrations for Christmas were reworded with songs from the Bible. As time progressed and vernacular language of carols along with plays had set, carols gained wide popularity during the Christmas season. These days carols have become an essential part and parcel of Christmastime and a major time for meeting, singing, rejoicing, praising and celebrating.

While we busy ourselves with the songs and plays, decorating homes and trees, shopping spree, sending the express parcels and orders and wrapping presents; bringing everyone including family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances and communities together is what gives the season its’ real meaning. To quote Harlan Miller, “I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month.”

 

Posted in Christian, Daily, Reflections, Stories Around the World

Give Us Our Daily Bread

Miracles often occur in our daily life. Sometimes we recognize the, other times we call them coincidences, chance events or circumstances. We try to reason out everything, but on some occasions we reason after the event has happened. Why didn’t we do it then ? Because we were preoccupied or tense or not thinking. In such a case, was it by chance that we had forgotten to think. I had read this story on my social network pages, apparently based on real events and I would like to share it in this special season. This story strongly reminds me of miracles and the power of prayer.

How much does a prayer weigh?

One day, an unhappy woman with a gaunt face entered the store and asked the grocer to give her groceries so she could cook dinner for her children. He asked the woman how much money she had. She replied, “My husband died in the war. And I have nothing but a little prayer.” The merchant admitted that in those days he was not very sentimental and believed that his grocery store was not a place for free distribution of bread to the poor. He casually threw out, “Write it on a piece of paper”, and he continued what he was doing.

To his surprise, the woman took a piece of paper out of her pocket and handed it to the grocer across the counter. She said,” I did it at night when I was looking after my sick child.” Not having had the time to recover from his surprise, the grocer took a piece of paper, but he immediately regretted that he had done this,”what should he do now and how to answer?” Suddenly he had an idea. Without even reading the prayer, he put the piece of paper on the scales and said, “Let’s see what it is worth.”
To his surprise, when he put a loaf of bread on another scale, the scale arrow did not budge. He was even more embarrassed because the arrow continued to stand still, although he quickly put food on the scales, because the other buyers were looking at him. The grocer tried to be rude, but without success. He blushed and therefore became even more angry. In the end, he murmured, “Well, that’s all the scales can handle. Here is the package. You have to pack it all yourself as I’m busy.” Making a sound like a soft sob, the woman took the bag and began to pack the food, wiping her tears with her sleeve as she went about her task. The grocer tried not to look, but in a quick glance saw that he gave the woman a rather large package which still had some space left. Without saying anything, he threw a large head of cheese onto the counter. He did not see the timid grateful smile that flashed in her wet eyes in response to his kindness, whom he had denied with the deceptive impression of his stinginess. When the woman left, the grocer approached the scales, scratching his head and shaking it in bewilderment. He later found the solution.The scales were broken.

The years went by. The grocer often recalled this incident and did not know whether the solution he had found was correct. Why was that woman’s prayer already written and ready to meet his unexpected demand? Why did the poor woman come precisely when the scales were broken? What confused him so that he did not even notice this breakdown and continued to impose products when only a scrap of paper lay on the scale? He felt like a fool and hardly understood what he was doing. The grocer has never seen this woman again. But he had never seen her before. Yet until the end of his life, he remembered her better than any other buyer.

He knew that this incident was not a figment of his imagination, because he still kept a scrap of paper where the prayer of that woman was written: “Please, Lord, give us our daily bread.”

Natalya Solunskaya