Archived Story

A Christmas story that never stops

Published 8:10am Monday, December 24, 2012

With a title like “A Christmas Story That Never Stops,” one might think of the true Christmas story. I am hoping and praying that the story of Jesus’ birth is primary for you this year. But, that’s not the story I am going to tell.

This story is one you may already know, but Christmas is about many stories that we hear year after year and they never grow old. This is a story of great joy to many kids and people of all ages. It’s the story of a song and someone sent it to me this week, just in time for Christmas.

The story begins with sadness. A man by the name of Bob May, a copywriter for Montgomery Ward Department Store in Chicago, sat in a slum apartment with his 4-year-old daughter and grieved for wife and mommy as she lay dying with cancer.

As often happens, the cancer had taken their very comfortable and happy lives and transformed them into a challenge of poverty and depression. The years were tough even without this illness; it was during the Depression and Bob faced defeat and it seemed that was all he had ever known.

As a child, Bob was small and not too interested in sports like all the other boys. I guess young and old are sort of cruel to people who are different and Bob was different. Now, after marrying his sweetheart and being blessed with a beautiful daughter, he had been dealt another difficult hand to play.

This time, though, it wasn’t just him. He had to think of his daughter and he was determined to be strong and positive for her. It was Christmas time and money was almost non-existent, but he had a story in his head and it was about him, in reality, but instead of using himself as a character, he used an unusual animal, a reindeer.

He created a little story book as a gift to his daughter. It was story about a reindeer for which life had not been so pleasant. The reindeer had been bullied by all the others, but one foggy Christmas Eve his only unusual characteristic, a bright, shiny red nose was needed to guide Santa’s sleigh. That night turned his life around, not to mention Bob May’s life.

His company, Montgomery Ward, saw some potential and paid Bob a nominal sum for the rights to the story book. They would give a copy to the kids who visited Santa in the store.

It was such a popular story, a national publisher wanted to buy the rights and, in an appropriate, but surprising fit of kindness, his company gave him back the rights and Bob May, his daughter, and new family became wealthy.

Not only that, but his brother-in-law just happened to write songs for a living. He took the story and wrote a song by the name of “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Hollywood cowboy, Gene Autry, recorded the song and it has sold more copies than any holiday song not named “White Christmas.”

I feel like ending with “And now you know the rest of the story,” but instead will end by wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas!

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