Like many small brothers we were sworn enemies. I'd ride his bike, he'd touch my train and war was declared.
Christmas was a temporary truce for Herb and me.
Our family celebrated it in Old World fashion - on Christmas Eve. Returning from church services, our parents would usher us through the darkened parlor past the tree, unseen but pungently there, to the kitchen where we'd excitedly wait while dad went out to help Kriss Kringle find our house. The doorbell's ring would signal our burst into the parlor. And there Santa would be in full costume - the tree now aglow and the furniture sagging with uncles, aunts and grandparents.
After Santa heard our lies about being "good boys," we'd plunge into our gifts. For Christmas was for us - its joy measured by what we got.
I was seven the Christmas I'll never forget.
Amid my spoils I came across a clumsily wrapped little package. Unopened in my hand, it already had a strange quality about it. Instinctively I knew it wasn't from my parents.
I turned to my brother; he was watching me.
"It's from me," he said in awe.
Stunned, I slowly opened it.
It was a 25-cent erector set.
Herb had spent all Saturday afternoon picking it out. It represented a half day's work delivering groceries.
His face was aglow with a strange new light of eagerness and concern.
I've long forgotten the other things I got that Christmas Eve. But I'll never forget that little erector set.
For along with it, I'd been given a first vision of God's great gift - that Divine joy which floods the heart of the giver.
~ Richard H. Schneider
Have a wonderful Sabbath...And check back next week for more recipes, stories and sundry thoughts.