The truth is, Christmas is special because it is hard to live this way everyday. Imagine however if we did.
Imagine if you can, a world where we see the other guys point of view, and he saw ours. Imagine a world, where we made it our business not to close our eyes at night until we made a positive difference in someones life that day. Imagine a life, were those that did the most for others, were the ones who attained the riches, where those that gave the most, not those that took the most,received the most.
My dad used to tell us a story about a poor man who walked onto a big estate. The Master's house had been empty for many years as the Master had been away fighting wars for the emperor, others rented from him their homes, but since the Master had been away, no one had collected the rents.
As the old man approached the first home on the estate, a terrible snowstorm whipped about him. The man was dressed as a rag man, he looked tired, old, and poor. He came to a house of a woman and he asked her for a loaf of bread. She looked at the bread in her home and said to herself, "I have a loaf, but if I give him my whole loaf I will go hungry." She returned with a two slices and said, "I have one loaf but if I give it all to you, I will have nothing." The traveler thanked her but refused her "hospitality".
At the next house he again came to the door. There was a party going on inside. He asked for a loaf of bread and again explained he had come far and had not eaten, but the hostess who had more than five loaves of bread brought only a few slices back and said, "I have five loaves of Bread, but I am having a party and I can't take a chance I will run out."
He again thanked her, and went on his way. He walked from home to home on the estate, and all he was ever offered was but a slice or two from the loaves that were available.
At the last house he came to, he notice that it was a clean home, but it was clear that the residents were of modest means. When he knocked on the door, the woman of the house opened the door and inside the home there was a house full of children and a Christmas tree inside. There were stockings by the fireplace. A tired man sat at the head of the table. The old man made his request of the woman. She asked him into the home. Then she took the only loaf of bread that she had, and gave it to the old man. She gave him the rest of the food in her cupboard, and at the end of the meal, the old man and the head of the household shared the last of the wine.
The old man stood, and as he was about to take his leave he asked of the woman and man, why they had been so generous. They had given him the last of all they had. The man said,
"You are wrong. We have plenty. We have 5 strong sons and 3 beautiful daughters. All of them, my wife and I are healthy. We have a generous landlord who while he has been away at war, has allowed us to remain on his estate rent free. Finally we have faith that tomorrow, when we are hungry, God will provide us with an opportunity to fill our stomachs. We do not have a lot of material things. But what we have, all of the money in the world cannot buy. We are the richest family on this estate."
The old man looked around and smiled. He thanked the man and woman for their hospitality, and patted each child, and took his leave.
The next day, the ells at the Master's house rang out. He had returned from the war and all who lived on the estate were to come to him. They all came wearing their best clothes and bringing food and gifts.
The Master looked out upon them. He was tall and regal. He was clean shaven and well dressed. He thanked them for their gifts and then said to the couple who had all the children "Where are your gifts?" The father spoke up, "Our gifts sire, are our children. We are here to till your fields and work in your home. we cannot afford presents."
The Master asked why they had not brought any food to the feast and the father told the Master about the visitor the night before. "I have not had the chance to get more food nor has my wife had a chance to bake more bread."
The Master then smiled. He looked at the residents of his estate and said
"This man and woman, fed me last night when I was hungry. They sheltered me from the storm. They gave me their last drop of wine. You all had more than they, you all have partaken of my hospitality, yet when I was hungry, you gave me crumbs from your table. These people, though they only had crumbs, shared them with me. They did not know when I would be coming, yet they treat everyone as if they were I."
The other residents gasped in the realization that the beggar man from the night before had been the Master of the Estate. "Master" they all said if we knew that it were you, we would have given you all we had too."
He roared out at them "You know not when the Master will come! You should treat all as if they were your Master.Then you will not have to worry that you did not recognize me!!"
The master continued:
"I am leaving to return to the lands that I have conquered for our emperor. I have been made Governor, and I will have an estate there twice as big as this one. I have decided to give this estate to one of you to collect the rents and to do what he will with the land and its bounty. I have chosen to give the land of my Estate, to the people who took in a stranger last night, and with the last bit of food and drink that they had, provided for him."
And with that the poor man and his wife became the owners of the estate, and never wanted for anything again.
Imagine if we constantly remembered that God is always around us, and that when we act charitably towards another in his flock , He sets a place at his table, and provides an estate for us in Heaven. Imagine what the world would be like if we all remembered my Dad's fable.
Merry Christmas to all of you, and a Happy and Healthy New Year too.
Tony"That Lawyer Dude" Colleluori and Family.