December 19, 2008

Faithful Lines / Shirley Vogler Meister

Finding little treasures prior to the Christmas season

Shirley Vogler Meister“Ah, Christmas!” Some of us think that with a sigh of contentment.

Some of us might think, “Bah, humbug!” because Advent had us over-busy with planning, cooking, shopping and attending earlier holiday celebrations.

No matter how we handle this time of year, it is still wonder-filled, mainly because we celebrate the biggest birthday party of the year—the birthday of the Christ Child.

Before the holidays, our daughter, Diane, and her fiancé, Al, came to Indianapolis from northern Indiana to help with a project that we often tackle in the fall. I say “we” lightly because, for the most part, I try to stay out of the way. The project? Making room for a car in the garage before winter since during the better weather so much stuff accumulates there!

This time, Diane came across a box that we don’t recall seeing before. It came from the attic of my husband’s boyhood home in Belleville, Ill. It contained several things, including an

8-inch by 4-inch chimney made from a Golden Guernsey milk carton covered with torn crepe paper resembling bricks. At the top of the chimney is discolored white cotton resembling dirty snow. There is also a little taller, tired-looking, cone-shaped, cottonball-covered “tree” with silver sprinkles glued on it.

In their prime, these must have been charming pieces of artwork. Now they are raggedy. However, Diane and I smiled with wonder over those items and a stack of colorful homemade cards.

At first, we thought all this might have been done by my husband, Paul, for his parents. While reading the cards, however, we found that some items were projects by our three daughters for Paul’s mother, their grandmother, Pauline. Most were signed, “Love, The Meister Girls.”

Many readers must have similar treasures that make them smile, too. One card’s message is, “Noel to you. Let us sing it … Christ our King born of the Virgin Mary.”

Another card reads: “Get a lot of gifts … Happy New Year.” A third card says: “Joy, Joy, Joy down in my heart.”

I have corrected the spelling errors except one in the next paragraph.

Another card notes: “Have a Happy Christmas and do not lose the angle … Do, Do, Do Not.”

The misspelled word “angle” gave me a light-hearted jolt by reminding me of the season’s commercialism. Of course, they meant “angel.”

In very large print, there is one card that says: “God, my Father, I thank you for sending your Son for me. Jesus, my Savior, I love and adore you for coming on earth for me.” Yet another card reads: “God, my Father, You are so nice. I’ll pray all day and pray all night.”

Even I cannot do that. However, I can pray that everyone enjoys a happy, healthy, holy Christmas with abundant blessings in the New Year.

(Shirley Vogler Meister, a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)

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