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BEECHEY: I dream each year of long ago

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During yet another difficult and unusual Christmas holiday, please put into perspective what Christmas is all about.

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We are blessed that we can be with family by phone or virtually, so please don’t risk your lives for gifts, turkey or even hugs. Love for each other to stay healthy will transcend any COVID barriers. We cancelled our only family Christmas this past weekend to avoid any risk.

My Christmas gifts to you are three poems that my father Ronald Turner wrote in the 1980s about Christmas, which will touch your hearts.

Christmas Wish. ‘Tis said a Child was born this day in Bethlehem so far away. A Child to bring the words of love from He who watches from above. How could a child in manger born restore a world with strife a-torn? A world, which seems will not be freed from avarice, and lust and greed. His words of love are all we need. If only man would hear and heed, such words the whole world should hear, but with the heart, not just the ear. Unlock your hearts and use your ears. Don’t waste away the passing years. And show YOUR love in every way, just as you do on Christmas Day!

Christmas Dreams. I dream each year of long ago, of holly bright – and mistletoe – when those we loved were young and gay, all filled with cheer on Christmas Day. I dream of skates and sleighs and wondrous toys, the merry whirl of Christmas joys. My dreams have changed a lot since then, for that was truly ‘way back when.’ I’d love once more to hear and see those happy scenes that used to be, the pranks we played when we were able, the faces missing from the table. I think of all that made life grand. Why must the hourglass lose its sand? Still time will never steal away the dream I’ll have this Christmas Day that all mankind will say “Amen” to Peace on Earth, Good will to men!

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Christmas Bell. Each year I took the Christmas bell from its padded resting place. I hung it high up in the tree with a joy time can’t erase. Just a simple little Christmas bell of wire and tinsel made, but it was my favourite ornament whose beauty would not fade. For it made me think of happy times, of sleighs and trains and toys, of candy canes and laughter. So many Christmas joys.

We both grew older through the years. The toys were put away, for Peace on Earth means so much more to share on Christmas day. Last night, alas, I dropped the bell. It shattered on the floor. I shed a tear – I knew full well its chime I’d hear no more. I’ll miss that tarnished little bell. It was quite as old as I. The memories that it brought each year were apt to make me sigh. But when I hear the big bells ring, each blessed Christmas morn, I’ll think of it and bless that day the Saviour Christ was born.

A replacement bell from long ago is with me now!

Along The Way. Come, soldier, leave this noisy throng and join me in a cup and song. I’ll tell you what perchanced today and who I passed along the way. I met three rich men, Kings, said they. Among the ones I passed today, who claimed to follow some strange star that went before them from afar. It led them, said these fools forlorn, to where the Messiah would be born. The King of the Jews that the tales foretell will conquer earth and conquer hell. I laughed to myself that they would dare to mock a Roman legionnaire, for all men know who can but see our empire stands ‘til eternity! Did’st ever hear a tale so wild of men who seek a holy child? And yet, a star did shine on high and seem to move across the sky. But what of that, when all around such signs and portents do abound, and what if the three were Kings indeed? Such foolishness I cannot heed!

And so I left them, searching still, before a manger ‘gainst a hill, and thought as I took leave of them, who’ll ever hear of Bethlehem? So, drink up lad, let’s dice and sing to help forget this foolish thing. Yet strange to tell, my thoughts still stray, to the three I passed, along the way.

Merry Christmas!

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