"The Christmas Pageant"    
My husband and I had been happily married (most of the time) 
for five years;  but hadn't been blessed with a baby.  
I decided to do some serious praying and promised God that if he 
would give us a child,  I would be a perfect mother, love it  
with  all my heart and raise it with His word as my guide.  
God answered my prayers and blessed us with a son. 
The next year God blessed us with another son.  
The following year, He blessed us with yet another son. 
The year after that we were blessed with a daughter.  
My husband thought we'd been blessed right into poverty.  
We now had four children, and the oldest was only four years old.  
I learned never to ask God for anything unless I meant it. 
As a minister once told me, "If you pray for rain, 
make sure you carry an umbrella."  
I began reading a few verses of the Bible to the children  
each day as they lay in their cribs.  
I was off to a good start. God had entrusted me  
with four children and I didn't want to disappoint Him.  
I tried to be patient the day the children smashed two 
dozen eggs on the kitchen floor searching for baby chicks.  
I tried to be understanding... when they started a hotel for 
homeless frogs in the spare bedroom, although it took me 
nearly two hours to catch all twenty-three frogs.  
When my daughter poured ketchup all over herself and rolled 
up in a blanket to see how it felt to be a hot dog, 
I tried to see the humor rather than the mess.  
In spite of changing over twenty-five thousand  diapers, 
never eating a hot meal, and never sleeping for more than thirty 
minutes at a time, I still thank God daily for my children.  
While I couldn't keep my promise to be a perfect mother, 
I didn't even come close...I did keep my promise to 
raise them in the Word of God.  
I knew I was missing the mark just a little when I told my 
daughter we were going to church to worship God, 
and she wanted to bring a bar of soap along to  
"wash up" Jesus, too.  
Something was lost in the translation when I explained 
that God gave us everlasting life, and my son thought it 
was generous of God to give us his "last wife."  
My proudest moment came during the children's Christmas pageant. 
My daughter was playing Mary, two of my sons were shepherds, 
and my youngest son was a wise man. 
This was their moment to shine.  
My five-year-old shepherd had practiced his line, 
"We found the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes."  
But he was nervous and said,  
"The baby was wrapped in wrinkled clothes."  
My four-year-old "Mary" said, "That's not 'wrinkled clothes,' silly. 
That's dirty, rotten clothes."  
A wrestling match broke out between Mary and the shepherd 
and was stopped by an angel, who bent her halo and lost her left wing.  
I slouched a little lower in my seat when Mary dropped the doll 
representing Baby Jesus, and it bounced down the aisle 
crying, "Mama-mama."  
Mary grabbed the doll, wrapped it back up and held it 
tightly as the wise men arrived.  
My other son stepped forward wearing a bathrobe and a paper crown, 
knelt at the manger and announced, "We are the three wise men, 
and we are bringing gifts of gold, common sense, and fur."  
The congregation dissolved into laughter, 
and the pageant got a standing ovation.  
"I've never enjoyed a Christmas program as much as this one," 
laughed the pastor, wiping tears from his eyes. "For the rest of my life, 
I'll never hear the Christmas story  without thinking of 
gold, common sense, and fur."  
"My children are my pride and my joy and my greatest blessing", 
I said as I dug through my purse for an aspirin. 
So do be careful what you ask for! 
You just might get it in abundance. 
"I'll Be Home For Christmas" 
The Statler Brothers 
A picture is worth a thousand words.........