Christmas-Themed, Redux # 4–“Good Cops, Gifts, and Big Hearts”


Phyllis Beveridge Nissila from December 15, 2014

andy's holiday treeMy sister and I and my teen-aged niece had the joy of helping out at a local, annual, “Shop with a Cop” event.

About a dozen or so police men and women and some helpers took a number of area youngsters on a foray for Christmas presents at a local store, then went to the town’s City Hall for food and gift wrapping.

It was big fun for the kids who got to ride in a “police car parade” on the way to and from the store, sirens blaring and lights flashing on the big, black and white cruisers.

Then to the Hall for sub sandwiches, chips, soda, donuts, Christmas candy, and holiday-decorated cupcakes while officers and others helped the young gift-wrappers measure, cut, wrap, tape, and label stacks of gifts the kids purchased for family members, although it was about shopping for themselves, too.

Due to popular demand, there were also a couple of hand-cuffing demonstrations.

I was a wrapping, ribbon curling, spell-checking, and clean-up elf. My niece and her friend manned a table in the back of the room. My sister helped in the Hall and assisted in the store.

By the time the event was finished, some 5 hours from the start, all the presents were wrapped, taped, be-ribboned and labeled; kids were smiling; helpers were feeling the joy; and a few police officers, one who had come straight from graveyard shift, were, I strongly suspect, heading for a long winter’s nap…

I can’t wait until next year.

And the officers I spoke with and thanked for this wonderful contribution to the community, responded in like manner.

silver ornamentIn the meantime, I will savor several “gifts” I, too, received that day, especially when the spirit of Scrooge from whatever corner threatens to spoil any season of the year and I need a little lift:

  • The look of, for lack of a better term, utter adoration on the face of the little guy who stood in the midst of the festive hubbub for a few minutes just staring at Officer So-and-so, looking him up and down in his uniform and shiny badge. I can’t help but wonder if some future-career seed was planted in that little boy in front of my very eyes as I wrapped, curled, spell-checked, and cleared tables.
  • The fresh–faced, bright-eyed, sweet little thing who belted out, to the great amusement of those nearby, “Hey, cop, when are ya gonna ‘cuff me?”Several times.
  • The exquisite patience of the officers helping little fingers deal with easily-torn wrapping paper, slippery ribbons and bows, and unwieldy tape—especially after the candy and cupcakes kicked in.

But here is my favorite, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Miracle on 34th Street,” and “Little Drummer Boy” kind of gift, a sort of two-for-one gift, actually, that made the day for me:

Andy's wreathMy sister’s young charge on the shopping trip, a boy of about ten years of age she figures, had this to say to the policeman with them who, at the entrance to the store, asked the kid, “And what do you want?”

“Let’s talk about me at the end,” said the boy, as he brought out his list of what he wanted to buy for his parents, step-parents, siblings, and step-siblings.

Then, said my sister, after each selection, the boy, with the precision of a young whiz-kid, calculated the balance carefully in his head, rounding up as needed.

At the end he was short, however. He never did get to choose something for himself, worried as he was that he didn’t have quite enough for the batteries he realized he’d also have to purchase for a couple of the gifts.

“Don’t worry,” said the officer, quietly. “There will be enough.”

So I’m sure you know how this story ends… up at the checkout…where someone reached into his own wallet to help the kid with the big heart…

And, of course, add that to the donations of food, wrapping paper, ribbon, tape, time, and goodwill from multiple sources in a community with a big heart.

In all the “bah, humbug” these days about a young generation thought more selfish than most and a few bad police officers (among tens of thousands of good ones) garnering all the press, I will savor this doubly-blessed gift in particular.

And in all the bah, humbug these days about the season itself, I will also savor the original message, still spelled

M-e-r-r-y C-h-r-i-s-t-m-a-s.



Ornament and wreath photographs by Andrew J. Beveridge, used with permission.

Nativity image from wikiart, public domain.


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Christmas-Themed, Redux # 3–“A Mid-Winter’s Tale from Alaska…”

From Dec. 8th 2012

Note: my sister, who worked for several years as a sexton in an Episcopal church in Fairbanks, Alaska, recalls her ”up close and personal”  with one of the state’s  (large) famed animals.  It was an event that gave her a new understanding of various aspects of the local culture and environment, such as “village time,” “Chinook winds,” the Alaskan version of “road kill,” and “flavor”.  It was an event she knew she would, in time, remember with its humorous elements, too. In the midst of the flurry of your mid-winter, mid-holiday-season activities, we hope you take a moment to enjoy.  Continue reading

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Christmas-Themed, Redux # 2–“Every Hallmark Christmas Movie…” Last Year’s Post and This Year’s Message

Phyllis Beveridge Nissila

In my Christmas-themed redux series, my next favorite post is from last year. With inspiration and help from my brother Andy, who started us off on this fun topic (predictable, stock Hallmark Christmas movie plots and variations thereof), came, below, the light-hearted look at the films I’m sure by now have hooked millions of viewers–and sold a lot of Christmas cards, books, DVDs.ornaments, and other movie-related merchandise. Continue reading

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“On What He Said Today” Series, #2–Proverbs 26:2

Phyllis Beveridge Nissila

Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow,
                              an undeserved curse does not come to rest.                                          Proverbs 26:2, NIV

In the world this day where people plot continuously in the halls of hatred and violence, prayerfully apply Proverbs 2:26 as you feel so led. Keep in mind also the following verses for encouragement and support: Continue reading

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Christmas-Themed: A Series of My Favorite Posts–Redux #1, “The Christmas Soldier”

Phyllis Beveridge Nissila

 “The Christmas Soldier” (from December 23, 2015)

My teen-aged niece and I were standing in line at the checkout in J.C. Penny’s yesterday when we noticed the young soldier striding toward a nearby exit. He looked like any raw-boned, young GI, clad in desert camo, ACU cap, dog tags no doubt tucked beneath his khaki T-shirt. One of many such soldiers one encounters these days in stores, restaurants, and airports Anywhere USA as the wars overseas drag on. Continue reading

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On Titus 1:15 and How to Choose Your “Lens” Carefully in a Polarizing Political Age

Phyllis Beveridge Nissila

To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted (Titus 1:15, NIV). Continue reading

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The Power of Prudence to Withstand the Geo-Political “Ragenado”

Phyllis Beveridge Nissila


As defined by Mirriam Webster online, “prudence” is: 1the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason, 2sagacity or shrewdness in the management of affairs, 3skill and good judgment in the use of resources, and/or 4caution or circumspection as to danger or risk.

Synonyms for prudence include: alert, vigilant, shrewd, judicious, wise, discrete, street smart, far-sighted, clear-headed, disciplined, logical (and so on).

A Scripture passage (of many) dealing with both practical and spiritual prudence that struck me recently as the way out of and away from the powerful pull of high emotion that, on the current geo-political scene, seems to be getting more and more intense, all-consuming–and blinding–is the following, from Proverbs, chapter 14, verses 15-18, NIV (emphasis mine): Continue reading

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A Timeless Thanksgiving Story: “The Travelers”–Redux

Phyllis Beveridge Nissila

Five years ago I posted this story written by my brother-in-law Gene Taylor. I re-posted it two years later.

I think it’s time, again, not only because it is an ageless story of hope lost, then found, but also because in an increasingly polarized and polarizing world saturated with so much anger and violence this simple tale uplifts the spirit of anyone thinking darkness prevails. For the truth is, it needn’t, and all it takes sometimes is just one, even small, light to overcome it. 

May your heart be lightened today by what continues to shine here.

The Travelers: A Thanksgiving Story

Continue reading

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On the Consequences of Elections, Rightness, and Righteousness

Phyllis Beveridge Nissila

“Elections have consequences.”

We hear this statement from both/all sides. We view its impact through history and in today’s headlines.

Those on the “winning side” smile, claiming to be the right choice for all; those on the “losing side” groan, and gear up for a future rematch.

And thus the world’s governance systems cycle.

But allow me to encourage any believers who may be discouraged today by the results of yesterday’s midterms in the United States, whatever outcome of whatever “race” is the cause of your dismay: don’t take your eyes off the prize. Continue reading

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On Political Lawlessness–for Those Who Still Have Ears to Hear: Vote

The following radio program aired Saturday, November 4, 2018, on Jan Markell’s “Understanding the Times,” and is entitled, “Defiance: The Consequences of Government as God.” Continue reading

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