The Christmas Mystery by Richard Pence

 It was in the midst of World War II and Dad had just returned from visiting relatives in
another part of the state.  To my delight, his pick-up truck held an unexpected and precious
cargo - a used bicycle!  For me!  A dream come true!
But, unfortunately, my ecstasy was short-lived.  The tires and tubes had long since
succumbed to wear and weather.  There weren't enough hot patches or rolls of black
friction tape in our whole town to keep them inflated.  I tried riding it with the flat tires,
but it was so hard, about an hour or two of riding now and then was all I could manage.
Bicycles were hard to come by during the war, but even more difficult was getting tires for
them.  And that was assuming such tires even existed, which I'd been assured was pretty
unlikely.  Summer passed and so did fall and most of the time the bike stood in the garage,
unused and unusable.
The Christmas Mystery
Reluctant is the darkest night to threaten beam of candlelight;
For where the waxen tapers glow, grim, questing shadows dare not go.

Soft candlelight betokens cheer that beckons when the dusk appears,
And sends its gentle, golden beams to set the household all agleam.

It bathes within its subtle fire the treasured things of heart's desire.
Where scented candles bring delight, small children welcome stars of night.

And love is ever present where the charm of candlelight is there;
Night itself seems warm and kind when candles glow at twilight time.

-- Brian King
Through the frosted windowpane a candle sends its welcome glow,
While etching shadows on the sill, a golden path falls on the snow.

Let this patch of warmth and beauty speak a message of good cheer
To each and every passerby, "This is a special time of year."

So place a candle in each window and let its radiant glow impart
A cheery welcome to one and all, a greeting from the heart.

-- Becky Jennings
On Christmas Eve, the family gathered to open the few presents we could find or afford.  
We'd almost finished, when, suddenly, we heard a loud, sharp sound on the front porch.  
"Santa Claus!" we kids shouted, dashing out.
And we were right.  He'd left something there on the porch for each child.  But my
attention was riveted to just one spot.  There, hanging on a large nail by the door, still
gently swaying, were two bicycle tires!  With tubes!  And brand-spanking new!
I stood there with my mouth open, wondering how even Santa Claus had managed such a
feat.  But I didn't ponder it long, after all, every child knows that Santa can do most
But, after I was grown, I thought of that very special gift many times, always wondering
how in the world my folks had managed it.  Years later, I finally asked my dad about it.  He
grinned and told me that, sometimes, things happen at Christmas that don't happen any
other time of year...things that can never really be explained.
It's just as well that I don't know.  The mystery keeps the memory so much brighter.
I will hold Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year.
-- Charles Dickens
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