Whose Christmas is it?

Twenty years or so ago a stalwart of our weekly Communion at the Glen Meadows Retirement Community was a retired radio broadcaster called Miss Alice Thomas.

Unlike today when folks with all manner of ugly and irritating voices populate the airways, Alice had a golden voice. You could sit and listen to her for hours.

This should not have been altogether surprising. For many years Alice had served on the staff of the Voice of America as one of the nation’s first African American news anchors. It was a remarkable achievement—one that required grit, determination, and extraordinary talent.

Alice was more than just a worshipper, she was a major participant in the liturgy. For more than a decade, she served as lector—reading the epistle and intercessory prayers.

Miss Thomas passed away in 2003. But her absence is still felt on Tuesday mornings by those of us who remember her fondly. Her radio manner and warm, velvet smooth voice added vastly to the quality of the reading during the service.

When it came to broadcasting, Alice was the consummate professional, and retirement in no way slowed her down. Indeed, for many years, she gave a weekly news broadcast for the retirement community’s residents—a program that compares more than favorably with those of the local radio stations. Alice was always on the lookout for stories that aptly reflected the nature of the seasons. Here is one of her Christmas favorites. GPH✠

Mary’s Dream

“I had a dream Joseph. I don’t understand it, not really, but I think it was about a birthday celebration for our son. I think that was what it was all about.

“The people had been preparing for it for about six weeks. They had decorated the house and bought new clothes. They’d gone shopping many times and bought elaborate gifts. It was peculiar, though, because the presents weren’t for our son.

“They wrapped them in beautiful paper and tied them with lovely bows and stacked them under a tree. Yes, a tree, Joseph, right in their house. They decorated the tree also. The branches were full of glowing balls and sparkling ornaments. There was a figure on top of the tree. It looked like an angel might look.

“Oh, it was beautiful. Everyone was laughing and happy. They were all excited about the gifts. They gave the gifts to each other, Joseph, not to our son. I don’t think they even knew him. They never mentioned his name. “Doesn’t it seem odd for people to go to all the trouble to celebrate someone’s birthday if they didn’t know him? I had the strangest feeling that if our son had gone to this celebration, he would have been intruding.

“Everything was so beautiful and everyone so full of cheer. But it made me want to cry. How sad for Jesus not to be wanted at his own birthday celebration.

“I’m so glad it was only a dream. How terrible it would have been, Joseph, if it had been real …”

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