The he explained that long ago, a bank failure had completely wiped out his fortune. He faced Christmas with not job, no money for gifts, and less than a dollar for food. He and his wife and small daughter said grace before dinner that year and then ate a Christmas dinner of hot dogs. His wife had decorated each of them, giving them toothpicks for legs and broom straws for tails and whiskers. Their little girl was delighted and her radiant joy spread to all of them.
After dinner they gave thanks again for the most loving and festive time they had ever had together.
“Now it’s a tradition,” said the once again prosperous man. “Hot dogs for Christmas – they remind us of that happy day when we realized that we still had one another and our God-given sense of humor.”
Long ago, there ruled in Persia a wise and good king. He loved his people. He wanted to know about the hardships they suffered. Often he dressed in the clothes of a workingman or a beggar and went to the homes of the poor. No one he visited thought he was their ruler.
One time he visited a poor man who lived in a cave. He ate the coarse food the poor man ate. He spoke kind, cheerful words to him. Then he left. Late, he visited the poor man again and told him clearly, “I am your king.”
How surprised the poor man was! The king thought that the man would surely ask for some gifts or favor. But he did not. Instead, he said, “You left your palace and your glory to visit me in this dark, dreary place. You ate the coarse food I ate. You brought gladness to my heart. To others you have given your rich gifts. To me you have given yourself.”