Jump to content

Welcome to Christian Writers!

We are a friendly community built around Christian writing, publishing, reading and fellowship. Register or sign in today to join in the fun!

William D'Andrea

Member
  • Content Count

    313
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    1

William D'Andrea last won the day on April 28 2018

William D'Andrea had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

51 Excellent

About William D'Andrea

  • Birthday 08/03/1945

Information

  • Location
    Centereach, New York
  • Occupation
    Retired

Recent Profile Visitors

937 profile views
  1. William D'Andrea

    suggestion box Bible Discussions

    It looks like you're planning to start an on line Bible Study. I'd like to take part. I am a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Greenlawn, New York, which is on Long Island. I've been attending the Friday Morning Bible Study there for about 15 years. At these meetings, I'm the one who keeps the Pastor on his toes, but in a pleasant and respectful manner. I think I'd enjoy doing the same here.
  2. William D'Andrea

    The Villain Never Changes

    Thank you too. There's something else about the vampires in one of my stories. Many of them are Born Again Christian Vampires, who belong to a Church sponsored organization named Blood Suckers Anonymous.
  3. William D'Andrea

    The Villain Never Changes

    Villains can change. The word "Villain" is a fictional, but not a legal definition of a character. I've written stories about vampires, who in most supernatural stories, would be the obvious villains. However, in my stories, many of them are "Innocent". That word being defined as "'Not guilty'." Those defined that way, would not be considered villains. While they are victims of vampire attacks, they do not give in, to the temptation to join the others, who do kill people and drink their blood. They have the alternative of drinking the blood of pigs or other animals. which they can purchase in any butcher shop. One of them says, "I'm gonna use self control. Just 'cause I'm now a vampire, it doesn't mean that I can't still be a responsible, law abiding citizen." Dealing with their own temptations, and the vampires who are guilty, are the major themes of the stories.
  4. William D'Andrea

    Day-timers - What's Your Opinion?

    When you say "Day timer", do you mean a clock, watch, or anything that tells the time? I'm very organized. With me it's a place for everything and everything in its place, and everything I do is scheduled. Even when I have nothing to do, it's scheduled. Fortunately, I'm only that way with myself and nobody else. I'd prefer to keep my friends, so it's easy for me to be patient.
  5. William D'Andrea

    Smashed Potatoes

    Smashed Potatoes By William D'Andrea American Soldiers visit an Italian village, during World War II. This story is based on an actual incident. My father was told about it by his cousin. xxxxxxxxxx Chaplain Henry Prescott, had landed with the 5th Company at Salerno, and he'd been with them at Anzio. Now the fighting was heavy, against the German positions at Monte Cassino; but 5th Company was camped thirty miles outside Naples, far from the fighting, or anything else, waiting for orders, and waiting and waiting, and waiting. Chaplain Prescott wanted to be where men were suffering and dying, where God was most needed. Instead he was here, speaking firmly to certain men, about being drunk, swearing, consorting with prostitutes, and violations of the Code. This morning the Southern Baptist Minister, sat at his desk, inside the Chaplain's Tent. He prayed, with a heavy, South Carolina accent. "Oh Lord, I'm bored; right out of my gourd." A soldier stood silhouetted in the tent's doorway. The Chaplain told the man, "Enter." The man stepped inside, out of the sunlight, and saluted. The Chaplain recognized his stubble bearded face. He returned the salute. "What can I do for you, Corporal Natalino?" Dark haired Nicholas Natalino said, "I'd like a pass sir." "So would I soldier." "You see sir. " The soldier spoke with a New York accent; pronouncing his Ts like the letter D, and his Ks like the letter G. "We're not far from the Village of Vianito, where my Grandparents were born sir. I've received a letter from my Aunt Marie. She says that some of my relatives are still living there. I'd like to get a pass, so I can go up and visit them. Sergeant Luzak says that I need an officer to accompany me." Chaplain Prescott's eyes lit up. "Thank you Lord." He grinned, "Why, I think that's a fine idea, Corporal Natalino! Wonderful idea! We'll be in a jeep and out of this camp in five minutes!" Fifteen minutes later, Chaplain Prescott sat beside Corporal Natalino, who drove through the Italian countryside, in a bouncing jeep, under the bright blue sky, on a warm spring morning. They drove past piles of rubble, where plants were beginning to sprout, and birds sang guiltless, above the destruction. The Chaplain asked, "You said you got a letter from your Aunt Marie?" "Yes sir. She'd my grandfather's sister. She lives in Mid-town Manhattan." "Mid-town Manhattan? Is she one of those ladies of fashion, who you see in the newspapers and magazines, wearing furs and jewelry?" Natalino laughed. "No sir. I think she has an old fur coat, and her engagement ring is the only real jewelry she has. She might wear some plastic earrings and bracelets; but nobody can ever call my Aunt Marie, a lady of fashion." "I'm sorry. I'm just a country boy, showing my naivete." "My Aunt Marie lives in a two room apartment, in an old tenement building, on West 35th Street. She's lived there for more than 50 years, but once you step inside, it's as if she'd never left the old country. "She lives directly across the street from the Hotel New Yorker." "Isn't that's one of the top hotels in the world?" "That's right, and she's just one block from Macy's." "'World's largest store?'" "Exactly. The Metropolitan Opera House is on Broadway between 40th and 41st Street, just five blocks north and two blocks east of my Aunt's place; and the Broadway theaters are just ten blocks north. A short one stop ride on the 8th Avenue Subway; but I can't imagine her spending time in any of those places, except Macy's" "What a pity." The Chaplain said, "We never appreciate what we have right in front of us." "Well, her life revolves around 9th Avenue. That's where everything costs less, and everybody speaks Italian." "Doesn't she speak English?" "Padre. My aunt's lived in Mid-town Manhattan for more than 50 years. Of course she's gonna speak English. She just doesn't speak it all that well. "She'll say things like 'How'd you like some smeshed potatoes?'" The Chaplain grinned. "'Smashed' potatoes?" "That's right. Bam! Bam! Bam! 'Okay! De potatoe, he's a smeshed!'" "Sounds like she trained the Mess Sergeant." The Corporal and Chaplain drove on. Then the rubble was behind them. They drove past undamaged buildings, and undisturbed olive groves, along a narrow road, paved with large blocks. "Corporal." The Chaplain said, "I think we're traveling along an ancient Roman Road." "Yes sir. I think this might be part of the Appian Way itself. Julius Caesar himself, might have come this way, in his chariot." "And the Apostle Paul might have come along this way on foot. "Do you realize soldier, we now live in a time, when men name their sons Paul, and call their dogs Caesar?" They came to a junction, with a sign pointing right, saying "Vianito". The Corporal turned off the historic highway, and went along a gravel road, up into the hills. Then they were moving through the narrow, twisting, cobblestone streets of Vianito, passing whitewashed stucco buildings, with orange tile roofs. They saw a few people looking through doorways and windows, watching the American Soldiers with concern, but not fear. The Chaplain asked, "How well do you speak Italian Corporal?" "Well I can converse, in uneducated, immigrant Italian. It's not the 'King's Italian', and it's probably full of all kinds of grammatical errors. It's a regional dialect, but we're in the region where it's spoken." "Then that should be more than enough, for a friendly visit." Then they drove into a small Piazza, with a dry fountain, and a small Parish Church. A few tables were set under umbrellas, on the opposite side of the fountain from the Church. About a half dozen elderly men were seated at the tables, watching the soldiers. Corporal Natalino halted the jeep, in front of the tables. The Corporal called out, "Buon giorno!" The men nodded respectfully. The soldier spoke in Italian. "My name is Nicholas Natalino!" The men looked startled. "I am looking for my uncle. Is there anyone in this village, named Alfredo Natalino?" The old men all turned, to look at one among themselves. Corporal Natalino told the man, "You look like you could be any of my father's brothers." The man stood up slowly. His features were deeply wrinkled. Natalino told the Chaplain. "The man's 53. He looks like he's in his seventies." The man stepped up to the jeep, and reached out his hand. "I am Alfredo Natalino. Who is your father?" "Benito." "And is your mother Angela Frascani?" "Yes. That was her maiden name." The old man grinned, showing a few empty spaces in his teeth. "Then welcome my American nephew." They shook hands. "Welcome to your Italian family." The Corporal then waved his hand toward the officer, in the seat beside him. "This is Captain Prescott. Chaplain of 5th Company." "A Priest? A Priest in the village? After all these years!" The men at the tables all stood up, and blessed themselves. Within ten minutes, it seemed as if everyone in the village, had come into the Piazza. Prescott saw that they were mostly women, children, and old men. Corporal Natalino stopped speaking Italian, and told his officer, "There hasn't been a Priest in this village, since the War began, and everyone would like to make Confession." "But I'm not a Catholic Priest. I'm a Baptist Minister." "I don't know if anybody here would know what that means, but you are a man of God." "You are correct Corporal; and I'm going to need your help as a translator." Natalino repeated his words to the crowd. There was a brief discussion. Then Natalino told the Chaplain, "Before I translate anybody's confession, they want me to swear to never divulge anything I hear." "Are you a man of honor Corporal Natalino?" "I take this as seriously as they do sir." "Then I will hear their confessions." Then they were inside the ancient Church. Chaplain Prescott sat inside the confessional, with Corporal Natalino at his side. Someone entered on the other side, and spoke through the screen. "Bless me Father. I have sinned. It has been four years since my last confession." The Corporal translated the words. The Chaplain said, "You'll have to say the Catholic words for me Corporal." Natalino repeated the standard Priestly response. The person said, "I have lied. I have cheated..." The first confession was over. There were dozens of confessions that day, all very much the same, all patiently listened to by Reverend Prescott, and just as patiently translated by Corporal Natalino. One woman said, "I have fallen at the fountain." The Chaplain said, "That is no sin." One man said, "I have been fighting in this war. I have done some horrible things, and I am haunted by them." Many American soldiers had said the same thing to Prescott. He said, "If you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, your sins are forgiven, and all the guilt you feel, is taken away. Before God you are sinless." "Thank you Father." More people came in. They confessed to lying, to cheating, stealing, gossiping with malice, and what anyone would expect to hear, anywhere in the world. Four other people also said, "I have fallen at the fountain." He told each, "That is no sin." The Chaplain told Natalino, "But it's a problem I'll have to speak about to whoever runs things in this village." The Confessions were completed in a little more than four hours. The Chaplain and the Corporal emerged from the Church, in the early afternoon. The aroma of spices and cooking pasta filled the air. Natalino said, "The welcome has just begun." Alfredo Natalino came up to both soldiers. He said, "Come please. We're having a big feast for you Father, over at the ristaurante." They walked down the Church steps, and around the empty fountain. Prescott said, "There doesn't seem to be any problem with the paving." The Corporal spoke to his uncle in Italian. "Is there something wrong with the pavement here uncle Alfredo?" "Pavement?" "Yes. It seems like a number of people have kept falling at the fountain." The old man stopped smiling. "What have you done? You said you wouldn't repeat any of the sins you heard confessed. You've broken your word to God." "But an accidental fall isn't a sin uncle." "Oh! I see." His uncle laughed. "You don't understand what you heard. "You see. We never say the word," He lowered his voice. "'adultery'. If that happens, we say that someone has 'Fallen at the fountain.'" "Uh-oh!" "It's all right. You didn't know, so you didn't break your word." "But the Chaplain didn't know that either, and he told all of them that it wasn't a sin." "Just don't tell him that, and whole day will go well." Then there was a major banquet at the Ristaurante, beginning with an infinite antepasto. When the antepasto was done, Captain Prescott said, "Thank you all. This was a wonderful meal! It's the best I've had since we left the States." Then the second course was brought out. Then the third course, followed by the fourth and fifth course; all served with a carafe of Chianti. Then the Chaplain said, "Thank you all for everything. I'll never forget this day. I'd love to stay longer, but we have to get back to camp by nightfall." Then he and Natalino got into the jeep. Uncle Alfredo and the Mayor came over to them, and presented the Chaplain with another bottle of Chianti. "Mayor." The officer said, "I'll speak to somebody when we get back to camp." Natalino translated his words again. "I'll see if they can send some engineers up here, to fix the pavement around the fountain; so your people won't keep falling down around it." The Mayor chuckled. "I don't see why you think it's funny Mayor. Your own wife keeps falling here all the time." Natalino hesitated. Chaplain Prescott asked, "Is there a problem Corporal?" "Not as long as I don't translate that last sentence Padre." The two American soldiers drove out of the village, and back along the ancient Roman Road. The Chaplain said, "That food was wonderful. It's a pity that there isn't a single place in all South Carolina, where you can get lasagne." "Wait 'til after the War. Then if you ever come to New York, you can look me up. There are hundreds of places where you can get lasagne that's just as good, or even better." "I just might do that, Corporal Natalino. I'd like to meet your Aunt Marie too. I'd just love to have a heaping plateful of her smashed potatoes."
  6. William D'Andrea

    Don't Quit Your Day Job

    Yeah. Royalty. Whatever you call it. Unfortunately, for me, until now, it's best to call it a daydream.
  7. William D'Andrea

    Don't Quit Your Day Job

    I'm not too sure about the correct terminology either. What I meant was that it might be nice to receivie a percentage of the gross income. Nothing gross about that.
  8. William D'Andrea

    Don't Quit Your Day Job

    Actually, having a day job is nothing to be ashamed of; as long as you're not doing anything illegal. I worked for many years in a restaurant, in a department store; wishing that I could quit and be able to live on what I earned from my writing. I also wished that I could sell the movie rights, and receive residual payments. Those things never happened, though I haven't stopped hoping. I am now retired; getting along on Social Security and EBT payments. I'm thinking that there's nothing wrong with having helped who knows how many thousands of people, to have a good meal. That may have been more beneficial to them, than anything they might have read, that was written by me. However, I'm still hoping to have a best seller; and receiving residual payments would be nice.
  9. William D'Andrea

    Healthy Eating - Funny!

    I wondered, "Hole fish"? A fish that has the appearance of a hollow wheel, with fins, tail and gills?
  10. William D'Andrea

    Is It Me?

    The problem isn't with your kindle. It's this website. I just checked out Plugs and Promos. Every posting after the 4th one down has been blacked out. I'm sure that this website's management is aware of the situation, and are now working to have it fixed. That hopefully shouldn't take too long.
  11. William D'Andrea

    writing partner Looking For Novel Help

    If you would post here, what you've already written, then maybe I and maybe other writers might be able to give you some advice and assistance.
  12. William D'Andrea

    Christmas Blessings!!!

    Merry Christmas to everyone!
  13. William D'Andrea

    Invitation To Living Nativity

    Invitation to Living Nativity by William D'Andrea At 5 PM, on Sunday, December 16th, 2018, the 29th Annual Living Nativity will be held, in the Sanctuary of the First Presbyterian Church of Greenlawn, New York, where I am a member. Many members of the Congregation will be taking part. Until a few years ago, we held the event outdoors on the front lawn. Some farm animals were brought in, and the high school girls who portrayed Mary, were seated on actual donkeys. Many people from the surrounding communities attended, seated upon bleachers that were rented for the event. While I attended, I never could fully enjoy the activity. Late December here on Long Island, is just too cold to be outdoors any longer than necessary. A lot of members agreed with me, but the outdoor event continued anyway; until a few years ago, when a storm was predicted for that evening. Then the event was moved indoors, to the front of the Sanctuary. A life size manger scene had been set up on the front lawn. Several of us men disassembled the construction, and rebuilt it indoors around the pulpit, where the event was held, exactly as it would have been outdoors; but in a warm place, and without the animals. That's how we've been presenting our Living Nativity ever since; and that's how it will be at this year’s Event. This will be followed by a traditional Christmas Dinner, with all the trimmings, in the Fellowship Hall at 6 PM. I'm normally one of the people who helps set up the tables and chairs, and then sets the tables. A few years ago, on the morning before the Living Nativity and Dinner, just before worship began, the woman in charge of the whole event stood at the pulpit, requesting more volunteers to give a hand where it was needed. She said, "We need more people to help set up the tables and chairs. So far, Bill is the only one who's signed up." I sat there thinking "What? Me? Hey, wait a minute! I'm the only one?" Then I thought, "I hope they don't mind eating off the floor." Fortunately more than enough members showed up, and everything worked out much better than we'd planned; in spite of our best efforts. That was also on the day when I'd helped move the Manger Scene inside. After everything was set up, the woman who's director of the Church's Youth Group told me, "Now you can finally enjoy it all." I said, "'Enjoy’? What is that?" (That was a joke. I'm not being a Grinch.) The dinner will be prepared by a professional chef, who is also a member of our Congregation, and volunteers his services. He is also an executive chef. He knows how to assign work; so we don't have a lot of people just standing around, not knowing what to do. The first time I helped set things up, I saw the amount of food being prepared and I thought it might be too much. Then when I saw how many people were in attendance, I wondered if there would be enough. xxxxxxxxxxxxx I originally wrote and posted this part of the article three years ago, on a different writers website, where it received this review: “It's a pity I don't live in your city, I would attend your Life Nativity. I see you think that you will have more than enough food and some people can take some home. May I suggest donating this food to a homeless shelter, or make more than enough so some of these poor people will have something to eat? Jesus will be very happy and smile at you.” In reply I stated: “We do have our own food pantry, that's open to anyone in need. Also, the dinner is always open to the public, and people in need do show up. Back in 2012, we had a pre Thanksgiving dinner about one week after Hurricane Sandy struck Long Island, and it was a difficult time for all of us. That dinner was actually the first hot meal that some of the people had to eat, since the storm struck. A Merry Christmas to you.” Xxxxxxxxxxxxx Now I return to last year’s Event: Last year’s Living Nativity was very different for me. A few days before the Event, I got a phone call from a woman named Debbie; the one who was in charge of the Event that year. She told me that a certain member of the Congregation, who was supposed to portray one of the Three Wise Men, would not be able to take part. She’d called to ask if I’d like to take the part. I told her that I was already planning to help set up for the dinner, which we’d be doing at the same time when the afternoon rehearsal for the show was going on. She told me that this time, members of the cast would arrive early. They’d be the ones setting up the tables and chairs and setting the tables. So that was the end of my excuses. I wouldn’t be able to get out of portraying one of the Wise Men. When the day came, while we cast members were helping set things up in the Fellowship Hall, I noticed that the two who’d be portraying the other Wise Men, weren’t there. I told Debbie, “I wonder where those other two Kings of Orient are?” That very lame joke got a laugh out of her. Then about an hour before the performance was to begin, the other Two Kings had arrived. We went down to the Choir Room and got into our costumes. I got into a very long robe, which dragged along the floor. It had a belt around the waist, so I was able to lift up the garment, and draped it over the belt, so the hem came down to ankle length, and I wouldn’t be tripping over it. We also put on “crowns”. What I had on my head was a very uncomfortable circular thing, definitely not crafted by any hat maker. I was also given some kind of elaborately painted empty jar, which was to be my offering to Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. Then we went upstairs to the Sanctuary, where a manger scene was set up at the pulpit, and surrounded by the fronts of buildings in Bethlehem. Members of the Congregation were dressed in Middle Eastern robes, portraying residents of the town; or shepherds. King Herod was seated upon his Throne, set up alongside the pews, about halfway between the entrance to the Sanctuary and the Manger Scene. There were also children in white robes portraying angels. Then the show began, which included recordings of Christmas Music and some live performances. The featured performer sang “Oh Holy Night”. She has a beautiful voice, and had been performing in the Pageant for several years, from her mid to late teens, and now into her twenties. One of the Kings later complained that she had given up her membership in the Congregation, and now only shows up to sing occasionally. I explained that she is now a married woman with a family of her own, and living an entirely different life in a different community. He shrugged, but still wasn’t satisfied with my answer. Then, as the final part of the Event, we Three Kings entered. We went to King Herod, asking for directions. Then we went to the stable in Bethlehem, and presented our gifts before the manger with the baby doll Jesus. There have been times when the baby Jesus was actually portrayed by a new born baby, with his mother walking beside the woman portraying Mary. Then the show ended, and everyone in the pews applauded, along with us cast members. After that we went on to the dinner, which was held in the Fellowship Hall of the Christian Education Building, which stands beside the Church Building. That’s when something disturbing occurred. One member of the Congregation showed up. He was someone who none of us had expect to ever see at the Church again, for a very good reason. The man had been unfaithful to his wife. She had divorced him, and gone to live with their grown daughter in Indiana. That was enough of a scandal for many of us in the Congregation, to be surprised to see him among us once more. He came over to the table where I was seated with the man who’d portrayed Joseph; and the one who’d portrayed Herod; along with one of the other Wise Men, along with their wives. He sat at the end of the table, and joined in the meal with us. That was obviously a very uncomfortable situation. What were we going to say? “You don’t belong here”? The last thing any of us wanted was any unpleasantness. So we all just sat there being uncomfortably pleasant with him; treating him as if nothing bad had happened. The woman Debbie, who was in charge of the entire Event, came over with a big grin on her face, and spoke with a laughing tone. “What are you doing with this…” either “despicable” or, “disgraceful” or, “dishonorable” or, “disreputable” or some other word that begins with the letter D. “…guy?” Then she walked away, and we continued our uncomfortably pleasant dinner. Now I wonder if our unexpected guest was being repentant, and trying to make amends. If he was, he’d come to the right place at the right time. The reason Jesus was born into this world, was crucified, dead and buried, then rose again on the third day, is so that we would all receive forgiveness for our sins. The forgiven ones, include the man who showed up, making us uncomfortably pleasant at the dinner; if he was truly repentant. The forgiven sins, include the sins of each of one of us who participated in the Living Nativity, as long as we are repentant, and accept Christ as Savior. Amen. A Merry Christmas to everyone who reads this. In Jesus’ Name. Amen. xxxxxxxxxxxxx If anyone who’s reading this lives on Long Island; I welcome you to this year's annual Living Nativity; at the First Presbyterian Church of Greenlawn, New York; which is located on the southeast corner of Pulaski Road and Broadway-Greenlawn; in the Village of Greenlawn. The Nativity is scheduled for Sunday, December 10th at 5 PM, followed by the free dinner at 6. There will be more than enough for you and your family to eat. You might even be able to take some home with you. For further information please go to: http://www.greenlawnpresbyterianchurch.org/eventscommunity.html
  14. William D'Andrea

    Invitation To Living Nativity

    Invitation to Living Nativity by William D'Andrea At 5 PM, on Sunday, December 16th, 2018, the 29th Annual Living Nativity will be held, in the Sanctuary of the First Presbyterian Church of Greenlawn, New York, where I am a member. Many members of the Congregation will be taking part. Until a few years ago, we held the event outdoors on the front lawn. Some farm animals were brought in, and the high school girls who portrayed Mary, were seated on actual donkeys. Many people from the surrounding communities attended, seated upon bleachers that were rented for the event. While I attended, I never could fully enjoy the activity. Late December here on Long Island, is just too cold to be outdoors any longer than necessary. A lot of members agreed with me, but the outdoor event continued anyway; until a few years ago, when a storm was predicted for that evening. Then the event was moved indoors, to the front of the Sanctuary. A life size manger scene had been set up on the front lawn. Several of us men disassembled the construction, and rebuilt it indoors around the pulpit, where the event was held, exactly as it would have been outdoors; but in a warm place, and without the animals. That's how we've been presenting our Living Nativity ever since; and that's how it will be at this year’s Event. This will be followed by a traditional Christmas Dinner, with all the trimmings, in the Fellowship Hall at 6 PM. I'm normally one of the people who helps set up the tables and chairs, and then sets the tables. A few years ago, on the morning before the Living Nativity and Dinner, just before worship began, the woman in charge of the whole event stood at the pulpit, requesting more volunteers to give a hand where it was needed. She said, "We need more people to help set up the tables and chairs. So far, Bill is the only one who's signed up." I sat there thinking "What? Me? Hey, wait a minute! I'm the only one?" Then I thought, "I hope they don't mind eating off the floor." Fortunately more than enough members showed up, and everything worked out much better than we'd planned; in spite of our best efforts. That was also on the day when I'd helped move the Manger Scene inside. After everything was set up, the woman who's director of the Church's Youth Group told me, "Now you can finally enjoy it all." I said, "'Enjoy’? What is that?" (That was a joke. I'm not being a Grinch.) The dinner will be prepared by a professional chef, who is also a member of our Congregation, and volunteers his services. He is also an executive chef. He knows how to assign work; so we don't have a lot of people just standing around, not knowing what to do. The first time I helped set things up, I saw the amount of food being prepared and I thought it might be too much. Then when I saw how many people were in attendance, I wondered if there would be enough. xxxxxxxxxxxxx I originally wrote and posted this part of the article three years ago, on a different writers website, where it received this review: “It's a pity I don't live in your city, I would attend your Life Nativity. I see you think that you will have more than enough food and some people can take some home. May I suggest donating this food to a homeless shelter, or make more than enough so some of these poor people will have something to eat? Jesus will be very happy and smile at you.” In reply I stated: “We do have our own food pantry, that's open to anyone in need. Also, the dinner is always open to the public, and people in need do show up. Back in 2012, we had a pre Thanksgiving dinner about one week after Hurricane Sandy struck Long Island, and it was a difficult time for all of us. That dinner was actually the first hot meal that some of the people had to eat, since the storm struck. A Merry Christmas to you.” Xxxxxxxxxxxxx Now I return to last year’s Event: Last year’s Living Nativity was very different for me. A few days before the Event, I got a phone call from a woman named Debbie; the one who was in charge of the Event that year. She told me that a certain member of the Congregation, who was supposed to portray one of the Three Wise Men, would not be able to take part. She’d called to ask if I’d like to take the part. I told her that I was already planning to help set up for the dinner, which we’d be doing at the same time when the afternoon rehearsal for the show was going on. She told me that this time, members of the cast would arrive early. They’d be the ones setting up the tables and chairs and setting the tables. So that was the end of my excuses. I wouldn’t be able to get out of portraying one of the Wise Men. When the day came, while we cast members were helping set things up in the Fellowship Hall, I noticed that the two who’d be portraying the other Wise Men, weren’t there. I told Debbie, “I wonder where those other two Kings of Orient are?” That very lame joke got a laugh out of her. Then about an hour before the performance was to begin, the other Two Kings had arrived. We went down to the Choir Room and got into our costumes. I got into a very long robe, which dragged along the floor. It had a belt around the waist, so I was able to lift up the garment, and draped it over the belt, so the hem came down to ankle length, and I wouldn’t be tripping over it. We also put on “crowns”. What I had on my head was a very uncomfortable circular thing, definitely not crafted by any hat maker. I was also given some kind of elaborately painted empty jar, which was to be my offering to Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. Then we went upstairs to the Sanctuary, where a manger scene was set up at the pulpit, and surrounded by the fronts of buildings in Bethlehem. Members of the Congregation were dressed in Middle Eastern robes, portraying residents of the town; or shepherds. King Herod was seated upon his Throne, set up alongside the pews, about halfway between the entrance to the Sanctuary and the Manger Scene. There were also children in white robes portraying angels. Then the show began, which included recordings of Christmas Music and some live performances. The featured performer sang “Oh Holy Night”. She has a beautiful voice, and had been performing in the Pageant for several years, from her mid to late teens, and now into her twenties. One of the Kings later complained that she had given up her membership in the Congregation, and now only shows up to sing occasionally. I explained that she is now a married woman with a family of her own, and living an entirely different life in a different community. He shrugged, but still wasn’t satisfied with my answer. Then, as the final part of the Event, we Three Kings entered. We went to King Herod, asking for directions. Then we went to the stable in Bethlehem, and presented our gifts before the manger with the baby doll Jesus. There have been times when the baby Jesus was actually portrayed by a new born baby, with his mother walking beside the woman portraying Mary. Then the show ended, and everyone in the pews applauded, along with us cast members. After that we went on to the dinner, which was held in the Fellowship Hall of the Christian Education Building, which stands beside the Church Building. That’s when something disturbing occurred. One member of the Congregation showed up. He was someone who none of us had expect to ever see at the Church again, for a very good reason. The man had been unfaithful to his wife. She had divorced him, and gone to live with their grown daughter in Indiana. That was enough of a scandal for many of us in the Congregation, to be surprised to see him among us once more. He came over to the table where I was seated with the man who’d portrayed Joseph; and the one who’d portrayed Herod; along with one of the other Wise Men, along with their wives. He sat at the end of the table, and joined in the meal with us. That was obviously a very uncomfortable situation. What were we going to say? “You don’t belong here”? The last thing any of us wanted was any unpleasantness. So we all just sat there being uncomfortably pleasant with him; treating him as if nothing bad had happened. The woman Debbie, who was in charge of the entire Event, came over with a big grin on her face, and spoke with a laughing tone. “What are you doing with this…” either “despicable” or, “disgraceful” or, “dishonorable” or, “disreputable” or some other word that begins with the letter D. “…guy?” Then she walked away, and we continued our uncomfortably pleasant dinner. Now I wonder if our unexpected guest was being repentant, and trying to make amends. If he was, he’d come to the right place at the right time. The reason Jesus was born into this world, was crucified, dead and buried, then rose again on the third day, is so that we would all receive forgiveness for our sins. The forgiven ones, include the man who showed up, making us uncomfortably pleasant at the dinner; if he was truly repentant. The forgiven sins, include the sins of each of one of us who participated in the Living Nativity, as long as we are repentant, and accept Christ as Savior. Amen. A Merry Christmas to everyone who reads this. In Jesus’ Name. Amen. xxxxxxxxxxxxx If anyone who’s reading this lives on Long Island; I welcome you to this year's annual Living Nativity; at the First Presbyterian Church of Greenlawn, New York; which is located on the southeast corner of Pulaski Road and Broadway-Greenlawn; in the Village of Greenlawn. The Nativity is scheduled for Sunday, December 16th at 5 PM, followed by the free dinner at 6. There will be more than enough for you and your family to eat. You might even be able to take some home with you. For further information please go to: http://www.greenlawnpresbyterianchurch.org/eventscommunity.html
  15. I've just seen a news report about the Earthquake that's struck Anchorage Alaska. That's where an on-line friend of mine, on another writer's website, lives. She uses the pen name Zznewell. I pray that she and everyone she knows are all right. I know it may be a while before she can get back on-line; but I'll be praying for her. On Sunday, I'll ask the people at my Church to pray for her and add her name to the prayer list. I also ask everyone on this website to pray for her, and everyone in Anchorage Alaska. The Lord be with them. In Jesus Name. Amen.
×

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.