Herald-Journal
Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Dec. 20, 1999

The night before the first Christmas

By OPAL "GRANDMA" HABISCH

Many years ago, before Christ, in a country across the sea, there was a village next to a river.

Most villages at that time grew up around a river or lake because the people needed water for drinking, washing, and even, for food, like fish.

In this particular village, mothers and daddies and their children lived with other families. They raised goats for milk and food, in addition to fishing the river.

These were people who lived off of the land. They didn't have lights or television or bathrooms; they weren't able to go to the store to buy what they needed. Remember, this was long ago, before Christ was born.

Their homes were mud huts, with a big opening for the door. They made their dishes out of clay from the river. They had no forks or spoons, they ate with their fingers. Candles were made out of beeswax and they used these candles for light.

In the evening, the people in the village would all get together and tell stories they had been passed down from their mothers and dads.

The date was Dec. 24 and it was a story-telling time. Everyone was sitting around a fire, when all of a sudden, a father looked up and exclaimed, "Look up there. Look at that bright star."

Everyone got up and watched the star as it moved across the sky. It seemed to come closer and closer until it stopped over the hut where the villagers kept their goats. The star was so bright that it lit up the sky.

The father walked over to the goat hut and went inside. When he came back out, he said, "There is a man here, with his wife. They want to rest in this barn. The woman is with child and very tired."

"Who are these people?" someone asked.

"The man's name is Joseph and his wife's name is Mary," the father replied.

Just then, the man named Joseph came out of the barn and said, "We have a boy child, just born. We will call him Jesus."

In the distance, the villagers could see people traveling towards them, following the bright star they saw in the sky. As they came closer, it was noted that some were carrying gifts. They laid the gifts down by the new baby in the hay, knelt down and started to pray. It was clear that this baby was very special.

Years passed, and the baby Jesus grew up to be a young man. He traveled the country, and spoke of God. He taught the people to pray and he baptized them. These people became Christians.

Now, when it is Dec. 25, we go forth and pray and give gifts, just as they did when Jesus was born 2000 years ago. We call this special time Christmas.

Merry Christmas to all.


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