Echoes From the Campfire

No matter how desperate a situation might be, he could always find in it something at which to laugh.  He laughed going into danger and coming out of it, with a joke or a pleasantry always trembling on the end of his tongue.”
              –Clarence E. Mulford  (Bar-20 Days)

    “For what thanks can we render to God for you, for all the joy with which we rejoice for your sake before our God?”
              –1 Thessalonians 3:9 (NKJV)
It was custom for my Dad to always give Grandma one of those red plants for Christmas.  You know the one–the poinsettia.  I have tried to follow in his custom with my wife.  This year the poinsettias seem to be vibrant red.  (I do not particularly care for some of the other colors they have out now.)
    Looking through my files, I found the story of the poinsettia and how it came to be a Christmas favorite and custom.

                    The Lovely Legend of the Very First Poinsettia

           Have you ever seen a poinsettia?  It’s a beautiful, red flower with a yellow center, that people like to decorate with at Christmastime.
           There is a lovely legend about how the poinsettia came to be and it begins in Mexico…
           There was a young boy who was very sad one Christmas Eve.  You see, in his little town it was the custom to offer gifts to the Christ Child.  People would come to the church on Christmas Eve and place their gifts upon the altar.
           But Manuelito, as we shall call him, was very poor.  He had no gift to bring before the Infant Jesus.
           Too shy to go inside the church without a gift, he knelt outside a window and began to pray.  We don’t know what Manuelito said, but perhaps he was telling the Holy Infant how sorry he was that he did not have a gift to offer.  For that is what prayer is, you know; talking to God.
           As he rose to his feet, he noticed a beautiful red flower growing in the very spot where he had knelt.  Amazed, he bent down to examine the flower.  He had never seen one like it before.
           Suddenly he realized that this lovely flower was a gift from heaven, an answer to his prayer!
           Joyfully, Manuelito plucked the flower and carried it inside, to lay before the altar.
           And that is why the poinsettia is known as “The Flower of the Holy Night” in Mexico.

The author and source of this is unknown, but here we see a humble boy wanting to give a gift to the Infant.  It is a story that has been repeated in other forms, “The Little Drummer Boy,” “In the Bleak Winter,” are examples where there is nothing to give except to play on a drum, or to give one’s heart.
                “Christmas is a necessity.  There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we’re here for something else besides ourselves.”
                       –Eric Sevareid

There is so much bickering going on; so much hatred.  Hopefully, except for the few which are to be pitied, Christmas will be a day that all of that will be forgotten as families gather around the tree.  There will be laughter, presents, maybe even the Bible will be read.  The political turmoil and hatred will be put aside for one day.
    To those who say, “Bah, Humbug”; to those who snort at Christmas and the thought that God could love the world, including them so much to send His only begotten Son to redeem it, well, they are truly to be pitied.  Some may get involved with some sort of revelry, but some will stay at home, a victim of their hearts and minds. They will try and enjoy the coldness of their heart as Dicken’s Scrooge of old did.  Maybe a “Spirit” will visit them, but too sadly many of them will not come to know the love of the Father.  To be pitied, to be pitied.