{The people in this story are fictitious. Any resemblance to a real person or business is completely unintentional.}

“Oh, look at that wreath! Oh, honey, can’t we get it for Christmas?” Dorothy asked Robert one day while shopping.

“Yes, I think so, we need one for the front door, you know, but I wonder what the price is,” Robert replied.

“All Wreaths: Four Dollars” Dorothy read.

“Perfect! Just the right price. Put it in the cart dear,” Robert said.

It was December 16th, and Robert and Dorothy Johnson wanted to get their Christmas shopping done before the stores were closed. They got a few more things, checked out, and headed home.

Robert turned on the computer when they arrived home. Checking the email, he said, “Nope. No new emails today.” Then he did a few more things while Dorothy prepared supper.

“Well Robert,” John said at work a few days later, “next week is Christmas break. I’m going to Texas. Where are you going?”

“Home. Dorothy invited our minister and her relatives, and so we’ll have a houseful,” Robert replied.

“What are you having?”

“Ham, mashed potatoes, and a few other things.”

“All I’s got is a turkey, mashed potatoes, and a few other things. Since Mary’s dad and those guys are Jews, they don’t eat pork. I married a Jew, but since she has been going to the Baptist church, she’s been thinking things over. Personally, I don’t think it matters. I guess you’re a Methodist, right?”

“Yea, but the preacher’s leaving, and so we’ll probably be going to the Baptist church. I like the preacher, and the practice is good. Plus it’s a little closer, so it will be easier to walk there during the summer,” Robert answered.

“You’re not going to the Methodist church any more?” John asked.

“Well, no, I don’t think I will. They are not following the Bible like the Baptist church here in town. Why, the other day, we had a singing program with the Lutheran and Catholic churches. There wasn’t a single Baptist there, and later I talked to Dorothy’s brother, who’s a Baptist, and he said that this Baptist church doesn’t do things with the other churches,” Robert said.

“You know, I never had much respect for religious things until I married Mary. Perhaps I’ll go to the Baptist church with her someday,” John said. “But I think we had better get home.”

Christmas day dawned bright and cold. Robert and Dorothy exchanged presents, and had a nice breakfast of eggs and potatoes. Dinner came, and with it the guests.

“Did you see the wreck that happened in the newspaper?” Ezekiel, the Methodist preacher, asked.

“Yes, I did, wasn’t it horrid? If only the father had driven more careful,” Dorothy’s cousin, Marilyn, said.

“He did,” said Dorothy, “but it was that drunk. Christmas is a nice time, but not to drink.”

“Oh, I hope you’re not a sober person like George, are you?” Marilyn asked.

George was Dorothy’s brother that went to the Baptist church. “Well,” Dorothy stated lamely, “I don’t know.”

“We don’t think that Christians should drink,” Robert put in. “After we read Proverbs 20, I thought it would be a good idea to not have that stuff in our house. So yes, we are sober.”

“Well,” said Ezekiel, “my point was that in the article, the Baptist guy, who wrote the report, said that the drunk driver got saved before he died in the hospital, and that the father, who always went to the Methodist church, wasn’t really sure if he was going to Heaven. The Baptist, naturally, put an alter call in the article. I wish the Baptists would keep their mouths shut about our church members.”

“Let’s not split hairs, sir,” said Robert, who didn’t like to argue about doctrine.

“You know,” said Martha’s husband, Daniel, trying to change the subject, “even though we’re Mennonites, I’ve been reading a book by a Baptist that lives not far from here, and he said something interesting about Christmas. I bought some extra copies, and brought them along; does anybody want one?”

“Well,” said Robert, “I’ll see.”

After most of the guests left, Daniel and Martha, who lived a few states over, stayed as Robert and Dorothy had wanted them to stay for a few days. “Daniel, how did you, a Mennonite, get involved with a Baptist?” Robert asked.

“Well, the author came to our church and spoke about ‘Redeeming the Time’. Our church has had some problems with the conference leaders, you know. Once we accepted musical instruments and computers, it seemed that the conference people got all upset. So our minister asked this Baptist preacher from Georgia to come and he did. He is involved with the Anabaptist Publishers, so we figured it be alright to have him over. And the ministry was starting to question certain things anyways, so we invited the Baptist preacher, Adoniram, and he came,” Daniel responded.

“Questions? What questions?” Robert asked.

“Some of our people had asked about the head covering, baptism, the Return of Christ, and a few other things. Since our church was already familiar with Anabaptist Publishers, we figured it wouldn’t hurt to have one over.

“So anyways,” Daniel continued, “when he came, he had a book table that had all their products on it, so I was looking through the products and found this book, Christmas’ True Secret. We bought some more later that week, but this is the one we were reading.

“And do you know what we found out?” Martha asked.

“I doubt it,” Dorothy replied.

“Well, I noticed the wreath on the front door, that reminded me,” Martha explained. “It has occultic roots.”

“It does?” Robert asked.

“Yeah,” Daniel answered. “Witches believe that green plants, especially holly and plants like that, wrapped in a circle, have the ‘magical’ power to make a woman powerless against exploits against them. You know the old tradition: you find a girl under the mistletoe you give her a kiss. Well, that’s where that comes from.”

“Oh, I see,” said Robert. “I always thought it was a little weird, that custom. Now I know why.”

“I’ll get a copy of the book for you,” Daniel said going outside to their car.

“Here you are,” Daniel said after he returned.

“Thank you. We will read it as soon as we can,” Robert said