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3. Table of Contents1. How to keep Christmas well in your heart throughout the year2. The joy and lifelong comfort in a parents voice. Some thoughts.
4. Christmas is Coming in 26 DaysHow to keep Christmas well in your heart throughout the yearby Dr. Jeffrey Lant"and it was always said of Ebenezer Scrooge, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any manalive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Timobserved, God bless Us, Every One!"The words, of course, are from Charles Dickens masterful "A Christmas Carol" published in 1843, apresent the world gratefully rediscovers each and every year. They remind us that Christmas, to beChristmas, must be about magic and memories, remembering both those who are with us and(especially) those who are not.. Christmas this year, as every year, began for me by unpacking mylittle electrified tree. It is battered now and bears its many bruises proudly if carefully.All at once, I give way to memories insistent, vivid, one tumbling over another. The box opens andrecollections of one year of my life after another pour out. First, I remember the day mygrandmother gave me this marvelous present and how she solemnly told me to take good care of it,as she had done.I agreed to do so, little knowing the significance or the power of what I promised. Now I know, forthis year I am older than she was when she gave it to me... and I now ponder who, in due course, Imust present this tree to and who will keep the faith of generations with me. You see, I have arrivedat the stage of life when Christmas is far more about who I shall give to... rather than who will giveto me.It cheersMy little tree (circa 1935), just 16 inches tall, literally bubbles with colorful cheer. It is called abubbler because its bulbs not only light up and glow... but one after another they bubble, except(some days) the one at the very top which, eccentrically,often fails to bubble at all. Moreover, whenone bulb goes out.... they all go out which means a patient review of all. However, I wouldnt have itany other way. Age means appreciating even flaws, for they, too, are a part of the whole.Because I am an historian and like many such have a tendency to collect and keep for a lifetime, Ihave been designated by my extended family as the "keeper", the one it is safe to leave with themementoes we all agree are important, but which no one but me wants to take care of. Once thebubbler tree is set up, other boxes must be opened... and they can only be opened when there issufficient time to pause, remember, reflect, and again and again be seized by their heart-tuggingmemories. One cannot rush this process for the memories will not be denied. They are foreverbittersweet... featuring as they do those loved and gone before. Yes, one must have sufficient timefor them for the memories that cascade at this time of the year are always vivid, poignant, rich... withnew meanings that come as I age.I smile, for instance, at a styrofoam bell given to me (as to all class members) by Mrs. Eigenbraugh,my third grade teacher. This ornament, a liberty bell, features my teacher in a stately formal pose.She looks at me as the dedicated prairie teacher she was. The autograph reads simply "Mrs.Eigenbraugh, 1955."I am older now than Mrs. Eigenbraugh was then... and I clearly see her at her desk dutifully,carefully signing each gift in her copperplate hand. She no doubt paid for these herself... and gavethem as a small memento of her and the season... little thinking that I, a half century later, should beso moved at her gift... or her conscientious generosity. Do teachers give as much today?Just one lefthttp://www.LizsWorldprofit.com Copyright Elizabeth English - 2012 4 of 9
5. Christmas is Coming in 26 DaysI was born in 1947 to young parents who had, in those post war years, few dollars and sky-highaspirations, with days and energy to spare. Like everyone else in the neighborhood they had a youngchild, part of that baby boomer wave. For him, they bought a box of colored glass ornaments which Ibroke one by one by getting in my petal powered red car, pushing it backwards across the livingroom... then running car into Christmas tree... full speed ahead. No one seemed to mind. We wereyoung, and we all had time and youth to spend without care.Now I hold that glass ball in my hand, of faded purple hue. It, along with my father and I, are thesurvivors of this tale. And now this glass ornament, once so little valued that we all laughed everytime I, with my running feet and determined glint, scored a direct hit... now this glass, I say, isprecious and deeply valued as a memento of youth, both my parents and my own, and of thebeautiful dark-haired woman whose carefree laughter and love are as clear in this ornament as if itwere a crystal ball. She told me to take good care of this for there could never be another... I haveand I will. And in time I shall ask of another what she asked of me: to remember.... and to take goodcare. For I am entitled to that as well., having well and truly kept the promise.Remember and reconnectEach year about this time, I set out to reconnect with someone from my past with whom I have losttouch, the way one does. Sometimes I succeed in this task; sometimes I dont. When I do... I make apoint of writing them a memorable letter... about how important they are to me... and how well andwhat I remember. Such letters in a lifetime are rare to write and rarer still to receive. I am pleased tosay they always stimulate a similar letter in response. That letter is always amongst my bestChristmas presents. As such I place it carefully among my other treasured gifts and mementos andsavor them as, each year, I take them out and let memory hold sway. Thus, with the help of mydearly beloved, I keep Christmas in my heart all year long, like the better, reformed, wiser EbenezerScrooge.And so I say to you: God bless us everyone and every loving memory of yore. They make us whatwe are and remind us, lovingly, of where we have been and the people who have helped us along theway in so very many ways.Merry Christmas!http://www.LizsWorldprofit.com Copyright Elizabeth English - 2012 5 of 9
6. Christmas is Coming in 26 DaysThe joy and lifelong comfort in a parents voice. Somethoughts.by Dr. Jeffrey Lant.Authors program note. It happened when I was deep in a brown study on some suitably reconditeconundrum of cosmic significance. There, walking along the uneven sidewalk that lines theCommon, there right in front of me I saw two lucky people who only had eyes for each other. Theirpresence was arresting; taking me immediately out of myself, focusing full attention on them, twopeople learning just how exciting and fulfilling togetherness can be.Youre skipping ahead of me now I daresay. Youre expecting one young thing entwined withanother, in love perhaps, or making good progress thereto. But if you think this, youd be wrong,quite utterly mistaken. For the two people I saw, and could not take my eyes off, were a youngfather and his young daughter. He looked to be on the sunny side of thirty; she was three or four.And a more enraptured couple I did not see that day... nor had I seen for long before. They only hadeyes for each other.The young father was in the process of enchanting his daughter; he was very much in the middle ofnot merely telling her a story... but acting it out. His animals were not just words from his mouth.They lived! They moved! They entranced! He didnt merely talk of their movements... he moved asthey would in life, going where they meant to go.... and to show her deep and sincere appreciationfor his constant efforts and exertions... she laughed, completely, merrily, with a glee she had alreadymastered... and which she spent liberally, recompense for her adored father.No wonder I couldnt take my eyes off this scene of radiance and sunshine. I could only wish themboth one thing to make what they had perfect... and that was the gift of clear memory.Unbidden tears.After a minute or two my way diverged from theirs; they went on without thought or recognition oracknowledgement that such a one as me even lived. And whether it was because of this thought orone like it, I felt tears. Its the kind of thing that happens to too many silly old buffers if theyvedined unwisely but too well or dwelt too long on things that might have been... and why theysquandered so many opportunities, because they were certain theyd come again, but didnt.6 or 7 or so, the softest hands, the most caressing voice.Then my own memory yanked me as it so often does these days. And I was not pining aboutmight-have-beens and loves I tossed away without thought, doubt or pangs. Instead I heard a voice Iknew as well as my own, a voice that represented all I valued and had every reason to be gratefulfor. Her voice. And this voice didnt just rise from memory. I heard it because she was there with meagain... and everything was there, just as it should be. And just as it all sounded sixty years ago andmore."My little love, do you feel a little better? I have something youll like." And she always did. Abook. A tale carefully considered before being read to me; sometimes one she knew I loved;sometimes one she was certain I would come to love, because she already did. Thus in her ownsoothing hands she would bring me, between covers, pages sometimes not yet cut, the unimaginableriches of the world, sometimes when I was ill; sometimes to sooth the way to dreamless slumber.And no matter how much she gave me, there was always more summoned by her practised magic.But the real magic did not come between covers with uncut pages; nor even with tales ofmesmerizing effect. The supremest spell was the one wrought by her voice and a few defthttp://www.LizsWorldprofit.com Copyright Elizabeth English - 2012 6 of 9
7. Christmas is Coming in 26 Daysmovements which denoted care, craft, artistry and above all else, love."By the shores of Gitche Gumee."Given a moment or two, a hint and a clue, I could probably name everything she read to me... notjust because of the lyric power of the authors words but because of her voice. Its cadence. Itsresonance. Its sonority. Its shear beauty and allure. Each word counted and so she neglected noword. Each line counted and so she delivered each line. Each paragraph counted... and so not asingle paragraph was overlooked or forgotten. Thus, she rendered one of our favorites; "The Song ofHiawatha" by my near neighbor on Brattle Street, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, published touniversal acclaim in 1855. I can hear her now... see her... she lives on as I hear her reading thewords she loved:"By the shores of Gitche Gumee, By the shining Big-Sea-Water, Stood the wigwam of Nokomis,Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis."But her magic was by no means exhausted, hardly even begun. For now she told me to close myeyes, to see the shores of Gitche Gumee, the shining Big-Sea-Water, the wigwam, and most of allNokomis, Daughter of the Moon Nokomis. And as she bade, so I did until these were no longermere words, but grand vistas, places of consequence and truth. Such was the magic of her voice."But there is no joy in Mudville."One of her favorites, which became one of mine, was "Casey at the Bat", "A Ballad of the RepublicSung in the Year 1888." It was written by Ernest Thayer and first published in "The San FranciscoExaminer" on June 3, 1888. No voice ever delivered it with greater gusto and the American idiomthan she, perhaps because she was a zealous supporter of her hapless Cubbies, the Chicago Cubs.Thus, as she spoke she made every captivating gesture:"Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright; The band is playing somewhere, andsomewhere hearts are light, And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout; Butthere is no joy in Mudville -- mighty Casey has struck out.""And the highwayman came riding."Over the years, in sickness and in health, her voice unlocked one treasure chest after another...Thomas Gray, Tennyson, Frost, Sandburg, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Robert Browning, DylanThomas... but this was always one of her favorites, for her dramatic sense worked well with AlfredNoyes, the great poet of the empire on which the sun never set, ruled by the Great White Queen afterwhom my grandmother was named. He published it in 1906, and it made him a world figure."The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees, The moon was a ghostly galleon tossedupon cloudy seas, The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor, And the highwaymancame riding -- Riding -- riding -- The highwayman came riding up to the old inn-door."And, as was now usual, she closed my eyes and opened my minds eye to see the ghostly galleon, theribbon of moonlight, and the highwayman, "a bunch of lace at his chin", the highwayman who keptriding, riding, riding. With every word, with every image, she helped make me the man I am today.Your children deserve as much from you, and as you love them, do so; for this is one certain way toensure not just their constant improvement but that you and your voice descend to them and keepyou a forever living presence in their lives.Envoi.For the musical accompaniment to this article, Ive selected the brilliant suite composed by NicholaiRimsky-Korsakov in 1888. It is called "Scheherazade". Its the story of a shrewd woman whosehttp://www.LizsWorldprofit.com Copyright Elizabeth English - 2012 7 of 9
8. Christmas is Coming in 26 Daysability to keep the Sultan amused by telling stories kept her alive. Based on "One Thousand and OneNights," my mother loved it from its opening bass motif to every evocative note that follows. Shewas always happy to acknowledge the talents of other wizards and soothsayers. Youll find it in anysearch engine. Go now and play it. Its richness enriches this article... and your life.http://www.LizsWorldprofit.com Copyright Elizabeth English - 2012 8 of 9
9. Christmas is Coming in 26 DaysResourceAbout The Author Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., where small andhome-based businesses learn how to profit online. Attend Dr. Lants live webcast TODAY andreceive 50,000 free guaranteed visitors to the website of your choice! Fr. Lant is a well knownspeaker, consultant and author of 18 best-selling business books.Republished with authors permission by Elizabeth English http://LizsWorldprofit.com.http://www.LizsWorldprofit.com Copyright Elizabeth English - 2012 9 of 9