Wednesday 16th January 2019

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

Under The Tree

December 26, 2018 Frontpage No Comments

By DEREK BECHER

Christmas this year was going to be very hard for Aaron — that was for certain. Just eight years old, he had lost his parents in a tragic accident, leaving him alone and understandably full of fear and uncertainty as his world had collapsed upon him.
Fortunately, his solitude and worry would be short-lived, for as he stood with tears on his face, dressed in his best clothes as he offered his last goodbye to his loving parents, Aaron was embraced by his aunt, his mother’s only sister, who immediately, happily, and lovingly adopted her orphaned nephew and welcomed him into her family as one of her own — a new brother for her own two children.
Aaron’s favorite season of Christmas was rapidly approaching. But without his mother and father, it wouldn’t — and couldn’t — be the same. He couldn’t help but remember and daydream of how wonderful their Christmases were together — filled with love, and family, and celebration of the birth of the Savior! After Christmas Eve Mass, they would return to their little home, gather around a special red candle that they lit only at Christmas, kneel on the floor with their hands joined, and pray the rosary. Then they would give thanks for each of their blessings, sing some of their favorite traditional carols, and exchange a gift before bedtime.
Aaron’s favorite gift, and now his only — and most prized — possession, was the gift that he had received just last Christmas. With great detail and precision, his father had carved from wood the characters of the Nativity. There was a robed and bearded Joseph, a smiling, kneeling Mary, and the beautiful little Christ Child, sleeping in His manger. A shepherd, a cow, a donkey, and three sheep were also part of Aaron’s special gift.
“Oh Papa, you must have worked so long on the beautiful figures of this Nativity. Thank you! Thank you,” exclaimed Aaron, as he took turns handling each figure with great care. The Nativity set had been wrapped in a beautiful tan-coloured cloth that was tied at the top with a shiny red ribbon. On the cloth, with red thread, Aaron’s mother had stitched the words, “Never forget, this is the real gift of Christmas.”
As Christmas Eve arrived in his aunt’s home, everyone prepared for the evening’s Mass at the church. Aaron dressed quickly and hurried into the large parlor room at the front of the house. There, Aaron unwrapped his Nativity characters and set them carefully under the sprawling lower branches of a massive, wonderfully decorated fir tree, topped with a white glowing angel.
The wooden figures were almost hidden underneath the tree, as they were placed right beside the stand, a full three feet from the outer edge of the lower branches. It was the perfect place, as one yellow tree light dangled there loosely from a branch, providing a faint glow that shrouded Aaron’s precious wooden Nativity characters.
Aaron crawled back out from under the tree, stood back, and gazed lovingly upon the wooden Holy Family. His eyes welled with tears as he remembered how joyful he felt when he unwrapped the gift just one year ago.
In the silence and darkness of the parlor room, save the lights on the tree, Aaron whispered, “Dear Mama and Papa, thank you so much for this most wonderful gift. I miss you so much and I am so sad without you; but I know that you are now with Jesus in Heaven. What a wonderful place to be on Christmas Eve! Merry Christmas, Mama and Papa. I love you.”
Aaron returned from the parlor room in time to join his adoptive family at Christmas Eve Mass. Afterward, they sang carols, and then each child opened one gift. Aaron was very thankful for the picture he was given. It was taken just last summer of him and his parents in front of their little home, and it was the last photograph ever taken of the three of them together.
“Thank you, auntie, I love it,” he uttered truthfully, even as it brought a tear rolling down his cheek.
It was now getting late, and the children were ushered off to bed, cautioned that St. Nicholas would be arriving soon. Little Aaron lay in bed with a heavy heart, happy that it was Christmas Eve, but very sad because he would be welcoming Jesus’ birth without his parents.
Aaron clutched the tan cloth that was the wrapping for his Nativity set, and held it close to his heart. With a few more hidden tears, Aaron fell asleep on Christmas Eve.
Christmas morning arrived with a burst, as Aaron’s stepbrothers ran into his room and shouted, “Get up! Get up! St. Nicholas has come! Jesus is born! Let’s open our presents!”
Aaron put on his slippers and housecoat and arrived in the parlor just as his aunt and uncle stepped into the room. The other boys were already picking through the presents, finding the ones with their respective names on them, but Aaron sat quietly and watched with reservation, still clutching the tan cloth wrapping of his Nativity figures.
Gifts were opened in turn, and Aaron waited patiently for his aunt to hand him beautifully wrapped presents, which turned out to be a toy Noah’s Ark set, a soccer ball, a toy race car track, a model airplane, a frame for the picture of Aaron and his parents, and various articles of clothing. He had never received such a bounty of gifts before on Christmas morning, and he opened each one of them with more than just a little bit of embarrassment.
Aaron watched as his new brothers almost frantically ripped open their gifts with shrieks of joy. The stack of toys and opened gifts grew larger in front of them, and the parlor floor began to overflow with opened gifts, wrapping, and ribbons, until finally, the last present had been opened. Aaron’s aunt called everyone to the center of the parlor, where hugs and thanks were exchanged.
She then said, “This has been a very special Christmas. We are grateful to have you here to share it with us, Aaron, and to share many more with us in the years to come. Now, who wants to come to the kitchen for fresh baked buns, hot chocolate, and a Christmas orange?”

The Most Precious Gift

Aaron’s uncle and brothers wholeheartedly accepted the invitation, and were beginning to exit the parlor, when Aaron unraveled the tan cloth and reread the words to himself that had been lovingly stitched by his mother — “Never forget, this is the real gift of Christmas.” Aaron shyly replied to his aunt’s invitation by saying, “But…please wait. There’s still another gift under the tree. It’s the most important gift of Christmas.”
Everyone turned and looked back into the parlor, as Aaron continued, “Come. Come. Come and see what has been given to us this morning.”
Aaron led his new family toward the tree, moving presents aside so that they could make their way toward the lower branches. “There. Under the tree, next to the stand,” he said, gesturing toward his precious wooden figures. Aaron’s aunt and uncle had to kneel on the floor to see under the tree, but at the same time with their children, they noticed the characters of the Nativity, next to the tree stand.
Seeing that the others had noticed his carefully placed Nativity scene, Aaron said to them, “The Baby Jesus resting in the manger. He is the gift still under the tree — the most precious gift of Christmas.”
The five of them were kneeling together at the bottom of the tree. Aaron grabbed his aunt’s hand, and soon they all held hands in front of the Nativity characters. Breaking the moment of silence, Aaron humbly and softly sang, “Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday, dear Jesus! Happy birthday to you!”
Aaron’s aunt then led the group in singing two of her favorite Christmas carols. They all knew the words, and rejoiced together as they sang Hark! The Herald Angels Sing! followed by Joy to the World. As they finished the latter song, Aaron’s aunt, still kneeling on the floor, looked at him with much love and gratitude, saying, “Oh, thank you, Aaron. Thank you for reminding us of the world’s most precious Christmas gift. Of course, you are right — the Baby Jesus came as a Savior for all, and there is no better gift than this!”
Aaron’s aunt arose and motioned everyone into the kitchen. Aaron stayed kneeling for a moment, smiling as he looked down again at the words his mother had stitched on the cloth, and the beautiful wooden figures his father had carved for him. He knew that he would never spend another Christmas with his mother and father; but with the special gifts that they lovingly created for him, he knew that they would always be with him.
Reflecting on this, Aaron looked at the Baby Jesus and whispered, “Thank you.” He added, “Merry Christmas, Jesus,” before he arose to join the others for hot chocolate.

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Right now the most likely path toward reform in the Church-- intervention of government authority-- could lead to disaster. If only a “morally intrepid few” bishops, here and in Rome, could call for and make public acts of repentance, we might yet avoid that danger.

Cardinal Burke, in two interviews, calls current Vatican response to abuse crisis "more confusing than anything"; calls upon those responsible for the McCarrick scandal to resign. Speaks about a group in USCCB pushing for LGBT agenda. @TheWandererNews

Cdl. Burke: Pope Francis’ response to abuse crisis is ‘more confusing than anything’

Cardinal Burke said that Pope Benedict was 'very clear' on the matter of abuse.

www.lifesitenews.com

Load More...

Cdl. Burke: Pope Francis’ response to abuse crisis is ‘more confusing than anything’

January 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke told German TV in a January 8 interview that Pope Francis’ response to the abuse crisis is “confusing.” Cardinal Burke stated that Pope Benedict was “very clear on this [matter of abuse],”…Continue Reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Trashes Pro-Life People: You’re “Not in Line With Society”

Justin Trudeau, Canada’s radically pro-abortion prime minister, blasted pro-life advocates Wednesday amid a nation-wide outrage about barring pro-life groups from a federal grant program. “An organization that has the explicit purpose of restricting women’s rights by removing rights to abortion,…Continue Reading

Cardinal’s trial puts French Church in glare of Catholic abuse scandal

The Roman Catholic archbishop of Lyon goes on trial on Monday charged with failing to act on historical allegations of sexual abuse of boy scouts by a priest in his diocese. Cardinal Philippe Barbarin is the highest-profile cleric to be…Continue Reading

Trudeau to issue new coin commemorating decriminalizaton of gay sex

OTTAWA, January 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau has granted the Royal Mint permission to release a new one-dollar coin designed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his father’s decriminalization of homosexuality. Trudeau’s government approved the coin…Continue Reading

CARDINAL CUPICH KEYNOTE SPEAKER FOR DISSIDENT PRIESTS’ CONFERENCE

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (ChurchMilitant.com) – Cardinal Blase Cupich is slated to be the keynote speaker at the annual conference for a notorious dissident priests’ organization. The annual assembly of the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests (AUSCP) will take place in June 2019, and…Continue Reading

Vatican spokesman, deputy, resign over strategy differences

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – The Vatican spokesman and his deputy resigned on Monday over disagreements on strategy, ending a year of upheaval in the Holy See’s communications structure. A brief Vatican statement gave no reason for the resignations. Spokesman Greg…Continue Reading

Chinese city bans public displays of Christmas, cites ‘clean city’ as reason

LANGFANG, China, December 19, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A city in China has issued a sweeping ban on Christmas-related decorations, public celebrations, and advertisements, claiming it’s necessary to keep the city clean for an upcoming awards contest. Christmas is not an…Continue Reading

Priest: Pro-LGBT rainbow rosary promoted by Fr. Martin ‘comes from the pit of hell’

December 17, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – During a radio interview about the pro-homosexual “social justice” rosary that Fr. James Martin has been promoting, Fr. Donald Calloway prayed for Martin’s “radical conversion” and that the Jesuit might “repent of the things he has…Continue Reading

President Trump’s Decision to Defund Planned Parenthood of $50-60 Million Likely to Win in Court

President Donald Trump appears likely to win a court battle against the abortion giant Planned Parenthood. At issue are new guidelines for Title X grants, which fund family planning programs across the country. In February, the U.S. Department of Health and…Continue Reading

Pro-LGBT priest promotes ‘rainbow’ rosary with prayers for ‘full acceptance’ of gay couples

December 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-LGBT Jesuit priest Fr. James Martin is promoting on social media a rosary with “rainbow” beads for one of the decades which are to be used, the rosary’s creators say, to pray for the “full…Continue Reading

Archbishop Viganò denies claims he defrauded his brother

ROME, December 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò today has denied claims he defrauded his brother, and has sought to clarify an October court ruling ordering him to pay his brother €1.8 million in inheritance. Many believe the ruling is being…Continue Reading

Vatican’s former doctrine chief: ‘LGBT’ has ‘no place’ in Church documents

VATICAN CITY, November 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – An influential cardinal says that pro-homosexual terminology such as “LGBT” has no place in the documents of the Roman Catholic Church. In a recent interview with LifeSiteNews, Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, formerly the Prefect of the…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

Archbishop Viganò urges McCarrick to publicly repent in new open letter

ROME, January 14, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — With a tone of fraternal and priestly charity, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has written an open letter to former-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, encouraging him to publicly repent of his sins and thus to save his soul. In the brief letter, dated January 13, 2019 and published in English and Italian (see full text below), Archbishop Viganò has also sought to persuade McCarrick that he has a unique opportunity to greatly benefit the Churc

U.S. Catholics losing trust in clergy, survey finds

Washington D.C., Jan 11, 2019 / 01:00 pm (CNA).- Trust in the clergy has declined sharply over the last year, a new Gallup poll shows. Only 31 percent of American Catholics now rate the honesty or ethical standards of the clergy as “high” or “very high.” The figures, released Friday, show a drop of 18 points since 2017. Among American Protestants, the same question produced a relatively stable number of 48 percent, a drop of…Continue Reading

Vatican News pays tribute to Cuba’s brutal communist revolution, then deletes post

ROME, January 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – An article at Vatican News, in recognition of the 60th anniversary of the Cuban revolution, disappeared from the Holy See’s website just one day after it appeared on January 1. No explanation was offered for the self-censorship of the article, which marked the rise to power of Fidel Castro and his anti-clerical Marxist government, which has long been marked by grievous human rights violations. The Vatican News article, in…Continue Reading

Wuerl knew McCarrick abuse allegations in 2004

Washington D.C., Jan 10, 2019 / 05:13 pm (CNA).- An allegation of misconduct against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick was reported to Cardinal Donald Wuerl in 2004, despite Wuerl’s insistence he knew nothing about McCarrick’s alleged sexual misconduct until 2018. Wuerl forwarded the report to the apostolic nuncio in Washington, DC, the Diocese of Pittsburgh said Thursday. A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Washington confirmed to CNA that an allegation against McCarrick was presented to Wuerl while…Continue Reading

Analysis: The non-trial of Theodore McCarrick

Vatican City, Jan 7, 2019 / 12:30 pm (CNA).- While recent media reports suggest that a trial of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick is underway, Vatican sources have told CNA that his case is not being handled by a full judicial process. Sources at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith have confirmed that allegations against McCarrick are being considered through an abbreviated approach called an “administrative penal process.” That decision gives insight into the strengt

Advertisement(2)

The Case Against The Sign Of Peace At Mass

By REY FLORES O Lord Jesus Christ, Who said to Your Apostles: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give you,” regarda not my sins but the faith of your Church, and deign to give her peace and unity according to Your will: Who live and reign God, world without end. Amen. — At…Continue Reading

Candor Is Not The Enemy Of Love

By DONALD DeMARCO Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, in his book Strangers in a Strange Land: Living the Catholic Faith in a Post-Christian World, makes two most important points when he reminds all those who love life that “candor is not the enemy of love” and that “real hope begins in honesty.” Candor may disturb one’s…Continue Reading

No, This Is Not JFK’s Democratic Party

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s House has more women, persons of color, and LGBT members than any House in history — and fewer white males. And Thursday, January 3, the day Rashida Tlaib was sworn in, her hand on a Koran, our first Palestinian-American congresswoman showed us what we may expect. As a…Continue Reading

Are The Knights Of Columbus A Hate Group Now?

By SHAUN KENNEY Democratic Senators Kamala Harris and Maize Hirono have chosen to make membership within the Knights of Columbus a variant of a hate crime. Judicial nominee Brian Buescher’s pro-life bona fides notwithstanding, his cardinal sin against the bureaucracy isn’t his judicial temperament, but rather the fact that he is a practicing Catholic. The…Continue Reading

The Quest Of The Magi And Our Own In 2019

By JAMES MONTI How truly fitting it is that the celebration of the Epiphany, the visit of the Magi, should come at the beginning of January. For just as the Magi set out on a quest “into the unknown” to find and pay homage to a Newborn King they as yet knew not, scarcely imagining…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

His Bride Is The Church

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Second Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: Isaiah 62:1-5 1 Cor. 12:4-11 John 2:1-11 In the readings for the past three weeks, the Church has given us the three traditional events which manifested our Lord’s divinity. The word Epiphany means manifestation. These manifestations took place thirty years apart, but were celebrated together because they point…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… The Wall And Abortion: No Moral Equivalency

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The March for Life event each January draws thousands of pro-life Americans to Washington, D.C., to witness for the weakest and most defenseless among us, preborn boys and girls who cannot speak on behalf of the sacredness of their lives in the face of legalized abortion which, in some cases, threatens their existence at every…Continue Reading

The Authority Of Bishops . . . The Hierarchy Of Orders In The Catholic Church

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 8 It is a well-known fact that the Church today is going through a crisis, especially in faith, as can be seen as early as 1985 when Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger allowed the publication of The Ratzinger Report. I believe that Benedict XVI was the only Pope in Church history whose mind was already well-known…Continue Reading

The Crisis Of Hope In The Modern World

By DON FIER Two opposing vices were identified last week as contrary to the theological virtue of hope: despair and presumption. Despair, on the one hand, goes against Divine Mercy; presumption, on the other hand, goes against Divine Justice. To explain, the renowned Thomist philosopher Dr. Josef Pieper describes hope as “preeminently the virtue of the status viatoris [condition or…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: In a recent reply about the appropriateness of giving blessings to those coming to Holy Communion, we said that the practice was an unauthorized innovation that should be discouraged. We have since learned that Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Ill., has instructed his priests and deacons not to give such blessings. Here is his rationale: “I do not…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Anthony Of Egypt, Abbot

By CAROLE BRESLIN While we can understand that God is infinite, it is difficult to comprehend the stretch of such infinity. Certainly our finite minds cannot begin to comprehend it. Hence, since our minds are finite, the more we have cluttering our minds with worldly affairs such as possessions, relationships, and activities, the less time and room we have in…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Servant Of God Walter Ciszek

By CAROLE BRESLIN Part 2 After living 23 years in Russia in prison camps and various towns in northern Russia, Fr. Walter Ciszek was suddenly given orders to be prepared to go to Moscow. He was never told why he was being transferred to the capital of Russia. When he first arrived, he wondered what was happening. For once, he…Continue Reading