Published On: Fri, Mar 1st, 2013

Story Of The Week

The Christmas Sermon

“’Twas the night before Christmas and…all through the house….’”  Yes, it was the night before Christmas (or actually three weeks before) but I was not thinking of Sugar Plums, nor St. Nick, not even any of the reindeer!  But near this night before Christmas I was envisioning preparing to speak as an Inspirational Speaker at a church in London — London, England.  I was so excited!

I had just read an e-mail from the church inviting me to speak on Christmas day as their guest speaker.  Reading the e-mail from the church, they apologized for the “late notice” but they stated that their original speaker had to cancel due to illness and they “hoped” (I thought possibly they meant to write “prayed” instead of “hoped”) my schedule would be clear to come to London.

So I was to be their “second choice”, but I did not care, as long as I got to speak in London (my first international speaking engagement) — to share my message of hope on Christmas day, one of the holiest days of the year for Christians.

I was so excited, so honored, and…so puzzled!  I quickly asked myself, “Why would a London church…any church…want to hear a Christmas sermon from Me?”  See, I am JEWISH!

Quickly, I rationalized, “Of course, of course…now I understand…JESUS WAS JEWISH, TOO!  They want a Jew to preach the sermon that was originally preached by a Jew.”

But a second problem came flashing through my mind: Shawn, my daughter, was coming to visit us for the holidays.  She works in L.A. and this would be her longest stay in Houston since her college graduation from U.S.C.  in California.  My time with her would be cut short.  But then I again quickly rationalized,” that will still give us plenty of time together.  I’ll only be gone for the three days.”

I quickly called my Speakers Bureau, leaving them a message with the exciting news, followed by a quick e-mail forwarding to them the church’s invitation.  I breathed in heavily and thought, “WOW, finally I’m going to be an International Speaker.”

So I began practicing my remarks to the church:  the importance of home, the importance of faith….

Meanwhile, my Speakers Bureau (as well as my daughter, to whom I had forwarded the invitation) had a few concerns, as there were several misspelled words in the church’s e-mail; however after my Bureau and the church had e-mailed each other my Bureau was less concerned and felt it was very likely a valid engagement.  But still, something did not feel “Kosher” to Shawn, to my Bureau, and to me (even though I so badly wanted it to be legit).

My Speakers Bureau “plugged” their phone number into Google.  Immediately, scores of fraud reports came across my agent’s computer screen.  My agent (who was on the phone with me) softly replied only five words:  “This does not look good.”

I was not going to London to speak at a church; nor was I going to speak at any other church on Christmas day.  That e-mail was a scam.

I was crushed.  I was so disappointed.  However, I felt (and feel) “that everyone has disappointments:  doing badly on a test when you’ve studied so hard; not making a sale you knew you were going to make; your sport’s team loses even though it was up by so much, with so little time left.  Nothing in life is guaranteed.

I feel a key to success is persevering and always “pushing on.”

A goal might not always be obtainable, but that does not mean that one should give up.  Yogi Berra once said, “If you come to a fork in the road…pick it up.”  I’m sure he was just kidding and meant to say, “If you come to a fork in the road and you choose the wrong one, try another path…and if that’s not successful, try another one….”

Disappointments are part of life.  My father tells a story about a high school graduation that actually occurred and that he experienced.  It was a “wild” example of a disappointment.

A very wealthy man’s son was graduating and the father purchased for his son a brand new, shiny, red Ford automobile.  However, the son was very disappointed with this gift, shouting at his father, “I wanted a Mercedes!  Every one of your salesmen you give a Ford, and me, you give the same thing.  I’m your son.  I deserve something better, something more expensive.”

Sometimes, disappointments are part of life; lessons to make us try harder.  Yes, disappointments hurt, but like everything else in life one should always look on the bright side.

You might be asking, “What could possibly be the bright side to the ‘Christmas sermon that wasn’t?”  That answer is easy.  “I got to spend extra time with my daughter!”   And every father will tell you, “That’s no bah humbug!”

About the Author

- My name is Kelly Sanger and I'm the Editor of The Face Of Chelmsford. I am a married Mum of 4. My hobbies are, dog training, agility, shopping, bingo, Zumba, reading and baking. I have a gorgeous Yorkshire Terrier called Ozzy and 2 cats called Angel and Elsie.

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