A Christmas Tale

Discussion in 'Coffee Bar' started by Gary, Dec 24, 2013.

  1. Gary

    Gary FujiXspot Top Veteran

    698
    Feb 15, 2013
    SoCal
    Gary
    Actually My Christmas Tale (... as opposed to A Christmas Tale)

    This being Christmas, I am just plain tired of the intense materialism of this season. So instead of checking out prices on Amazon or finding a parking spot at Costco ... maybe I can offer something more meaningful … (well at least more meaningful to me). I’ve spent a number of Christmas’s in different countries. I remember Christmas in Korea, I was in a restaurant/bar in Pusan, a very nice place actually, and a couple of girls were all smiles and a bit on the giggling side with a birthday cake. Although they were not Christians, they still wanted to celebrate the birth of Jesus … so we all had a slice of cake.

    Something meaningful … okay hold on … so here it goes … Africa … I spent another holiday season in Africa. Christmas was in West Africa, a reporter and I were being shown the countryside when our host’s car broke down (again). It was late in the day, the light was fading fast and the nearest village didn’t have a BMW water pump. I doubt if they had a water pump of any kind. The village was so barren and non-descript that it wasn’t even on our maps.

    We were stranded for the Christmas weekend in the village of no name. Weekend life in suburban Africa is as exciting as the rest of the week. Although the village lacked German auto parts, it did have a Catholic Mission and on Sunday morning, the weekend before Christmas, I went to Mass.

    The Church was French with a few old wooden chairs scattered along the walls for the old, the interior was pew-less as well as window pane-less. The heat and dust poured through the portals where stained glass should have been. I hung in the back as the room soon filled up with locals in their Christmas best. I was more of an observer than a participant, watching the assembly picking out a child here an adult there. Using skills I developed as a photo journalist, I melted into the crowd, taking a few snaps of interesting faces.

    Then I spotted her … the Mother-in-Rags. Please note that this was Africa and everybody was dressed in thread bare and worn attire, but this scarecrow of a woman was in rags. She had two children with her, also in rags. Life hadn’t been very gracious to this overly thin woman. As in all churches, the time came for the offerings. The Catholic services typically use baskets for donations, this Mission used a woven reed affair, about the size of a very large serving platter, dipping or bowing slightly in the center. When the platter, ultimately, made its way to this poorest of the poor, the Mother-in-Rags, I was intently watching and thinking to my materialistic American self “… Boy, this ought to be good…”.

    The Mother-in-Rags took the woven basket, placed it on the ground, then stepped into the basket, her bare feet sharing space with the rest of the offerings. Back-lighted and diffused by shafts of light hitting the floating dust, she raised her eyes from her interlocked hands up to heaven. At the end of her prayer she stepped from the basket and passed it on with a dignity drawn from an inner place I would never know.

    That was a message I have never forgotten. That is the message I pass on to you during this time of grace and plenty, of giving and receiving.

    Take Care, God Bless and Merry Christmas,
    Gary
     
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  2. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants Solving for X

    718
    Jul 28, 2013
    Very powerful, Gary. Thanks for that.

    And a Merry Christmas to you and everyone.
     
  3. bilzmale

    bilzmale FujiXspot Veteran

    353
    Feb 3, 2013
    Perth, Western Australia
    Bill
    A wonderful example of the true meaning of 'giving'. Thanks for sharing.
     
  4. Gary

    Gary FujiXspot Top Veteran

    698
    Feb 15, 2013
    SoCal
    Gary
    Feliz Navidad John.

    Gary
     
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  5. Gary

    Gary FujiXspot Top Veteran

    698
    Feb 15, 2013
    SoCal
    Gary
    Thank you Bill. Merry Christmas.

    Gary
     
  6. capodave

    capodave FujiXspot Veteran

    432
    Jan 31, 2013
    Mission Viejo CA
    Dave Kavlich
    Thanks Gary
    Merry Christmas
     
  7. Gary

    Gary FujiXspot Top Veteran

    698
    Feb 15, 2013
    SoCal
    Gary
    Merry Christmas Dave. I hope you and your family are well and are enjoying this great Christmas weather ... 80F today. Merry Christmas.

    Gary
     
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  8. Isoterica

    Isoterica FujiXspot Regular

    170
    Feb 10, 2013
    Powerful and humbling. Thank you for sharing Gary :) Merry Christmas!
     
  9. jloden

    jloden FujiXspot Top Veteran

    708
    Mar 9, 2013
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    Thank you Gary, a great reminder for the Christmas season!
     
  10. BigTam

    BigTam FujiXspot Regular

    63
    Feb 5, 2013
    Dortmund, Germany
    Ron
    Having experienced Easter in a very poor village in Cameroon, I can relate to this. Thank you Gary, and - for all of us - never forget how rich you are.
     
  11. pniev

    pniev FujiXspot Veteran

    489
    May 13, 2013
    Thanks for sharing such a beautiful moment, Gary.
     
  12. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 8, 2013
    NW corner of CT
    BB
    Your words speak as beautifully as your photographs, Gary. Many thanks.
     
  13. Gary

    Gary FujiXspot Top Veteran

    698
    Feb 15, 2013
    SoCal
    Gary
    Thank you all.

    Gary
     
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