COLUMN: A Christmas story from Paul D. Perry

Submitted photo.
Paul D. Perry

’Tis the Season, as they say. For most of us here, we celebrate the birth of Christ. I do. My Christianity, as imperfectly as I may represent it at times, is my core belief. I don’t remember having one of these zapped by lightning or Eureka moments in my travels as a Christian. I just remember a belief in Jesus Christ as my Savior, even as a small boy.

I remember my mother making sure I made it to Sunday school and worship at the old red brick First United Methodist Church in Midlothian before it was torn down. Later I was baptized at the church that still exists on Mountain Peak Road. My father attended sometimes, but he worked weekends and late shifts because he was a Dallas police officer. I remember praying that my father would make it home safely.

I am thankful. I should be.

For some who doubt or do not share the outright belief in the birth of Christ, the themes of the Season can still cause reflection, just as they should for a believer. Are you thankful for what you have? Many of us have challenges or even disabilities in our lives, but are you thankful for your next breath?

At this time of year, do you focus on the relatives or friends whom you may not get along with? I have to admit there are times when that has tempted me. How about you? Really? You never have? Wow, you must be special. Perhaps you should be thankful for you. At this time of the year, some reflection on what is really important is often useful. Maybe you should be thankful that you have people in your life.

Are you thankful if someone bought you a present? I remember receiving a pair of white socks during a Christmas gift exchange in grade school. I am not sure such things are even allowed any more in our public schools. I was about 7, and I remember I wasn’t very happy about the gift.

I thanked the boy who drew my name, but he probably sensed my disappointment.

The ride on the school bus home that day was a real bummer.

After all, I had carefully selected and purchased a toy as my contribution to the exchange. Something was wrong with the Universe! Your great aunt might give you socks for Christmas, but not your classmate! What would Charlie Brown have done? Lucy would have hurt him!

When I got home, Mom and Dad pointed out that they were really good socks. They both talked about how I could use them and that they looked warm and that they were well made. When we came back from our Christmas Break (we called it that back then), I remember thanking the boy for the neat socks. Funny, I still remember that made him happy. It felt right.

Maybe in some ways, the sock story is my own personal Christmas story. It seems it always goes through my mind at this time of year. In a way, it is a redemption story. I don’t mean spiritually, but I bet you get it.

Merry Christmas.