We were going to make an announcement in January, but we couldn't wait. Our blog is going to resume!! Please enjoy this early gift from us to you - a blog from our sweet Myra Balok about a very special Christmas Eve. May you have the Merriest Christmas, as you celebrate the amazing birth of our King and our Savior, the most perfect gift of all.
Much love to each of you and be sure to look for more details on our blog in January.
Mugzy and the Laugh That Saved Christmas
I don’t remember much about my Dad’s hunting days, but I do remember Mugzy. Mugzy was big, adorable, clumsy, loud and my Dad’s hunting dog. In my memory he looked like a cross between a beagle and a Bassett hound—close to the ground and to five kids’ hearts.
I don’t know how well he did out in the fields, but I do remember how he loved to “hunt” our big, gray cat Tom. We were nearly ready to head out for Christmas Eve service. My dad had sent my two brothers out to feed Mugzy for the night while my Mom, my sisters and I lovingly added the finishing touches to the tree. The excitement was palpable.
I am not sure of the logic here, but at that time, my Dad used a large galvanized tub instead of a Christmas tree stand for the tree. He placed large rocks and coal (he ran out of rocks?) in the tub to keep the tree up. Straight. You’ll see why I remember this so vividly in a moment.
For whatever reason (they were boys?), Mugzy got off his chain, spotted the open back door (they were boys) and a big, gray cat sniffing the cold air. That was all Mugzy needed. He took off for Tom who responded in typical cat behavior and headed for the nearest tree to climb.
I bet you know where I am going with this, right?
Tom went up the tree with Mugzy close behind.
Picture the scene: My Dad is yelling at my brothers. My mom is yelling at the cat. The girls are just yelling! The tree came down tipping the tub on the way. Seven people scrambled around trying to snag either a dog, a cat, or a flying ornament.
Mugzy was finally caught and returned to his “house”; my dad picked up the tangled mess of a tree and roughly stuck it back into the righted tub; my mother soaked up black water from the floor with anything she could grab; and the rest of us cowered against the nearest wall fearing the worse: there ain’t no way Santa is coming here tonight! We didn’t see the cat for days.
Suddenly, my Dad announced, “Get into the car. Now.” We all obeyed. We were smart kids. It was a very quiet ride to the church.
We filed in: my two brothers first, my two sisters, me, my mom, and, finally, my Dad. We almost filled a pew! The service began.
I don’t remember at what point this blessed moment came, but my Mom gave me a gentle left elbow nudge and a nod to her right: it was a Christmas miracle. My Dad was laughing. Really laughing, just quietly. Well, the elbow nudge and nod went right down the line until six grateful heads were turned to the right. There was such a relieved collective sigh that night that we almost blew the altar candles out! We shared smiles and Christmas greetings as we left the church.
At home, we kids dug in and re-trimmed the tree (sort of) while my Mom brought out the hot chocolate and her famous “refrigerator” cookies. Jesus came that night, and Santa did, too. Neither of them ever missed the Griffith household. I don’t know what became of our beloved Mugzy although I do remember that my Dad allowed him to live that night.
Joy comes in many forms and often when we least expect it. My prayer for you is that whatever tangled mess you might be experiencing this Christmas, allow God to replace it with the joy that is Jesus.
God is good.
Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all JOY and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.