Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


Merry! Christmas! Glory to God in the Highest!!!

christmasWhen I was in 6th grade (in public school) we did The Christmas Play. I know that dates me, but it’s true. We enacted our version of the birth of Christ.

Cement Angels 012

Now when the teacher, Miss Thelma, told us we were going to do the play, I secretly hoped I’d get to be the angel. I didn’t bother to volunteer because Miss Thelma chose the perfect actor for each part. (Or so she said.) We didn’t try out.

When Miss Thelma announced the parts, our angel actor was, naturally, a pretty blond girl. A dark headed girl was chosen to be Mary. And that was pretty much all the female parts in the play.


Except when the whole bunch of angels came on stage and sang. Everyone else was in the chorus.

Then she announced that I would be the narrator. *Gulp!* (Today, you might call me the voice-over.) Since I stood at the podium so I would have the use of a microphone, I could have read the passage, but Miss Thelma wanted me to memorize it. She’d even typed a paper with the scriptures I was to know.


Of course, they were straight out of the King James Bible.

Luke 2 King James Version (KJV)

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

I don’t remember memorizing verse 2. I guess Miss Thelma didn’t think it was necessary for the story. 🙂

And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 “And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

If I remember right, there were only three shepherds in our story.

Next, we apparently skipped to Matthew 2 for the wise men.

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judæa in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

And verse 10

 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. 11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

Of course, we only had 3 wise men, because while the wise men entered, the kids in the chorus sang, “We Three Kings.”

Can I still quote the story? Uuuuuh, no. I can say part of it, but not the entire thing. But when someone else reads it, I follow along in my mind.

Kids today are missing a lot by not getting to do the true Christmas Story in school. I guess that means their parents (grandparents and aunts and Sunday School teachers, next door neighbors or lady down the street) are responsible for getting the truth to them.

And maybe that’s a better way, after all.


I’m no angel, but from me to you: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”



Merry Christmas Eve!

Merry Christmas Eve!

Are you ready for the big day? I’m not sure I’m ever really ready, but since I have yet to learn how to stop time, it’s coming anyway. 😉

One of my favorite things about Christmas has always been the Sunday before. I have tons of memories of me, my sisters and Mama, all in matching velvet dresses on Christmas Sunday. Sometimes Mom got Jeffrey in a matching velvet vest, but for some reason could never get Dad in one. 🙂


I still love church on Christmas Sunday. We sing all the songs I’ve always loved, or most of them. And we hear about the Bethlehem Adventure–or at least part of it, depending on the preacher and what God gives him to share.

I love learning what I think I know and realize I don’t know. Like the wise men. You know, like the song. “We Three Kings of Orient are . . . ” and learning I don’t know how many Wise Men there were. (No one does.) And the idea that Mary rode a donkey when she and Joseph went to Bethlehem. Go back and read it again. Where’s that donkey? 😦 Poor Mary.


More than anything, I like the reminder that Immanuel (God with us) who created the universe, became an infant so that thirty odd years later He could die for our sins. Our sins, not His. (He was perfect.) No matter how many rules we had, we couldn’t be perfect enough. But He is God, so He’s perfect, the Lamb of God, sacrificed for our sins.

His presence (remember, He’s Immanuel, God with us) is our present for eternity.

I like that so very, very much.


The Greatest Gift

Okay, what I’m talking about today isn’t the absolute GREATEST, but nearly. 🙂

Seems like this time of year is rife with Christmas parties. Anybody stepping in that with me??

Last night was my final “official” party of the season. It was a family/company Christmas. Up until twenty-two years ago, my grandmother hosted the evening in her home. (Except it was only family, not employees.)

Grandmother had all kinds of candies, snacks, goodies and punch. (Gotta have the punch!) After Grandmother’s death, we started having a party and inviting the office help. Last night was the party for 2013.

I’ve also attended an in-office party and a writers’ party this year.

There’s never any alcohol, so we don’t have a problem with fights–for anyone over 15. 😉 At the in-office and writers’ parties, we played dirty santa. (Insert evil laugh here.)

If you haven’t played Dirty Santa, you’re missing a fun time of cheering, whining and tons of laughter. Warning: set the rules BEFORE you play and don’t let them change as you go.

Honestly, though, the best gift anyone gets at Christmas (except for Jesus) is time with their friends and family. Don’t you love it? 🙂


I Know the Big Guy!

I know the real Santa.

Don’t raise your eyebrows. It’s true, I do know him.

I met him a long time ago, back when my kids were small.

Here’s how I know him. Every year, St. Nick visited C-Town. When my kids were little, even though we lived in Pryor Creek and had our own parade there, the boys insisted we had to come home to C-Town because that was the only place where the real Santa made it for the parade.

So we’d come home. We watched the bands and floats and Shriners entertain, and even though there was a wonderful show going on, the boys only wanted one thing. Okay, two things. Candy and to see Santa riding on the big red fire engine.

And when Santa cruised past, he always waved his hand at our corner of the parade route and shouted, “Hi Danny! Hi Kyle! Hi Matt! Hi Brad! Hi Grant! Hi Melanie!  Merry Christmas.” For him to know their names, he had to be the authentic Kris Kringle, didn’t he?

Santa also took time to come to our church to visit with the kids after the Christmas program. He not only knew their names, he gave them  each a bag of candy, too.

So #1 son deducted that he HAD to be the only real Santa.

Who was I to argue?

SHAY KIDS DO NOT READ THIS!!! (I mean it. You’ve been warned.)

PS:  Don’t tell my kiddos, but the Big Guy was represented by a Christian man in our church. His suit was made by one of the wonderfully talented women in our church. (Don’t you love people who donate their time and talent so freely?)

This man was kind and loving to the kids in town and very, very patient. (With the length of some of the lists and the crying the babies did, he had to have a ton of patience!)

Not only was he a member of the church we went to most of my life, but he was also a neighbor. They make the best Santas, don’t they?

Way back when I was a kid and one of my sibs recognized the Santa we visited or noticed his beard wasn’t real, Mama always explained it by telling them the man was Santa’s helper. He had to have helpers like that because the Big Guy was so busy at the North Pole getting ready to fill up that sleigh and make his whirl-wind trip to all the boys and girls in the world.

Wow. Remember believing that? What a sweet time it was when we really believed that all the world received gifts. Back before we knew about hate, unhappiness, prejudice and my-way-or-the-highway kinds of life. And before we knew about poverty in parts of the world that make you cry to think about.

I still believe in Santa. (Even though Paula told me the truth when I was four. BTW–it’s okay, Paula. I enjoyed knowing and helping Mom keep the secret all those years.)

Besides, Santa is the Spirit of giving and Christmas and forgetting old hurts and loving one another. So of course, I BELIEVE!

Do you?


Are You Ready?

I’ve loved this song each time I heard it, but whoa! Mark Lowry gives it something special. So I posted it here for me. I want to be able to find it and listen to it whenever I get the yen.

Like right now. 🙂

BTW: I got up this morning, made coffee and cinnamon rolls. (Thanks, Sister Debbie for the recipe!)

I’m decorating for Christmas after I eat them. What’s your day going to be like? OSU/OU football? Gift wrapping? Hanging on Facebook?

Whatever it is, why don’t you give me a wave on the way?

Oh, and if you’re intentionally organized for Christmas, could you give me a few pointers? I’m Organizationally Challenged. 🙂