'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even my spouse.
The dining room table with clutter was spread,
With pedigree charts and with letters which said…
"Too bad about the data for which you wrote,
Sank in a storm on an ill-fated boat."
Stacks of old copies of wills and such,
were proof that my work had become much too much.
Our children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads.
And I at my table was ready to drop,
From work on my album with photos to crop.
Christmas was here, and of such was my lot,
That presents and goodies and toys I'd forgot.
Had I not been so busy with grandparents' wills,
I'd not have forgotten to shop for such thrills.
While others had bought gifts that would bring Christmas cheer,
I'd spent time researching those birthdates and years.
While I was thus musing about my sad plight,
A strange noise on the lawn gave me such a great fright.
Away to the window I flew in a flash,
Tore open the drapes and I yanked up the sash.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But an overstuffed sleigh and eight small reindeer.
Up to the housetop the reindeer they flew,
With a sleigh full of toys, and 'ole Santa Claus, too.
And then in a twinkle, I heard on the roof ,
The prancing and pawing of thirty-two hoofs.
The TV antenna was no match for their horns,
And look at our roof with hoof-prints adorned.
As I drew in my head, and bumped it on the sash,
Down the cold chimney fell Santa - KER-RASH!
Santa had come from the roof in a wreck,
And tracked soot on the carpet (I could wring his short neck!).
Spotting my face, good old Santa could see
I had no Christmas spirit you'd have to agree.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings (I felt like a jerk).
Here was Santa, who'd brought us such gladness and joy,
And I'd been too busy for even one toy.
He spied my research on the table all spread
"A genealogist!" He cried! (My face was all red!)
“Tonight I've met many like you,” Santa grinned,
As he pulled from his sack a large book he had penned.
I gazed with amazement - the cover it read
"Genealogy Lines for Which You Have Plead."
"I know what it's like as a genealogy bug,"
He said as he gave me a great Santa hug.
While the elves make the sleighful of toys I now carry,
I do some research in the North Pole Library!"
"A special treat I am thus able to bring,
To genealogy folks who can't find a thing."
"Now off you go to your bed for a rest,
I'll clean up the house of this genealogy mess."
As I climbed up the stairs full of gladness and glee,
I looked back at Santa who'd brought much to me.
While settling in bed, I heard Santa's clear whistle,
To his team, which then rose like the down of a thistle.
And I heard him exclaim as he flew out of sight,
"Family History is Fun! Merry Christmas! Goodnight!"
Author unknown—contributed by Rob & Wanda Erwin
of Hazel, Kentucky.
embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
Christmas will be soon be upon us, and credit is due to our
Let's try, in this small way, to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. -Editor
By Verna Abernathy Erwin
In a tall
stately forest at the edge of town,
least little thing, he'd laugh and he'd giggle.
Was to be a Christmas tree so bright and so tall.
Slowly the Christmas tree season began to draw near,
And he laughed all inside and it was quite clear…
That he thought he'd be chosen the very first thing.
He waved his boughs round as if he had wings,
He was so happy, he'd giggle and bend slightly over,
He wasn't very pretty all curved like a clover.
So people passed him right by and took other trees,
And soon he grew lonely and sad as could be.
He no longer laughed and tears ran down his limbs,
And he wondered and wondered why no one chose him!
When he stopped all his giggling, he began to stand straight.
He stood there so stiff and began his long wait…
On Christmas Eve night, a group of men came around,
He felt them chop into him…freeing him from the ground.
The next thing he knew, he was placed in a Chapel,
All decorated with bright
ornaments…round, just like apples.
With glitter and tensile, his boughs they were laced.
Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus were placed near by.
And the sight was so pretty, it brought many a sigh.
That night at the Service, the tree looked about…
He was so happy and glad he wanted to shout.
He fought off his giggles, but it was no use,
His boughs began to wiggle and some of his ornaments came loose.
A little girl there whispered softly to her Mommy…
"The Christmas tree is laughing and holding on to its tummy!"
Some said it was a draft that caused the tree to sway…
But we know it was happiness that had to give way.
If you children will be
good and turn out the light,
You know what I think he
will probably say?
The Christmas trimmings had been up for three days, and the little old lady was sitting by the window, patiently waiting and day-dreaming.
Tomorrow the holidays would begin, and that was the day her three sons, all servicemen, were due home. This was to be the best Christmas of all for her. It had been many a year since she had the entire family together. This would be the first since that day six years ago when they had all met at the father's death bed.
Oh, what a joy this was for her! She couldn't afford many gifts, nor expensive ones, but she managed to find some small things for each of her sons. She wasn’t expecting much in return. She knew that servicemen’s wages were low. It was enough for her just to have them home.
She wondered about their being able to get leave all at the same time. Did the Air Force and Navy have some special rule or something permitting such things? Or was it pure luck on the part of the brothers? She wasn’t going to fret. That was the government’s worry. She was satisfied, however it came about.
She wished time didn’t drag so. The day was taking so long to pass. It was as if old Father Time was bent on tormenting her.
Somewhere in back a door opened, and two men, dressed in white, entered. They both strode down the hall, stopped at her door, peeked in, and moved on.
"Sam", whispered the older, "five years ago this December that poor lady received a message from the War Department that read:
The President of the United States regrets to inform you that your three sons, Nathaniel, Gerald, and Ronald Meadors, USAF, were lost when their plane, on a routine mission, exploded…’
That telegram broke her heart and warped her mind. That's why she was committed to this institution. Every year now she decorates her room, buys small gifts, and futilely awaits their return.''
Contributed by Vernon Garrison
The "Christmas Truce" is a term used to describe the brief unofficial cessation of hostilities that occurred between German and British troops stationed on the Western Front of World War 1 during the Christmas of 1914.
“Cousin” Garth Brooks describes it in his 1997 song Belleau Wood, and the National World War 1 Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, has an exhibition for it. Yet the 1914 truce—one of history’s most heart-warming Christmas stories—remains mostly forgotten, especially in America.
The unofficial Christmas truce of 1914, just over four months after hostilities commenced in the First World War, remains shrouded in myth. But the episode, which war historians call "...perhaps the best and most heartening Christmas story of modern times," really happened.
Concentrated in Flanders in Belgium, this spontaneous outbreak of peace, entirely uncoordinated, spread quickly along a large portion of the five-hundred-mile Western Front in Belgium and parts of France. Nobody is quite sure where exactly it began, but most accounts have the initiative coming from the German side of the trenches.
It is a German custom to celebrate Christmas in the evening of December 24. That first Christmas of the Great War was no exception. German soldiers were singing Christmas carols, some of which (such as Silent Night, Holy Night, or Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht) were familiar to their British counterparts. Taken aback by this curious behavior, British officers ordered that no shots were to be fired, but that the situation was to be monitored.
British soldiers responded to the German singing with carols of their own. This was then followed by exchanges of greetings across the trenches. In some frontline areas, German soldiers invited their enemies to come over to their side for a visit. Gradually and cautiously the Allied troops accepted the invitations. Both sides used the pause in fighting to recover wounded and bury the dead. Proper burials took place as soldiers from both sides mourned the dead together and paid their respects. At one funeral in No Man's Land, soldiers from both sides gathered and read a passage from the23rd Psalm:
"The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul. He leadeth me in the path of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil."
German & English soldiers fraternize - Christmas 1914
Most modern accounts of the Truce finish with the soldiers returning to their trenches and then fighting again the next day, but interviews with veterans indicated that in many areas the peace lasted much longer, even past New Year’s Day. It is a fact, however, that in all wars since 1914, no such truce has occurred between combatants. What a shame. »»»