.          all rights belong to Tanis Harms, © 2015
.             refer to
www.church-skits.com

A SCROOGE FACES CHRISTMAS – written by Tanis Harms

PREMISE:  SAM EDWARDS is a stingy man – of his time,
.  his money, and his assets.  Like all his relationships,
.  even the house which he loves is falling into disrepair
.  because he’s too cheap to fix things.  Because of this,
.        he keeps hitting his head on a fallen beam.  
.        While unconscious, he experiences different
.        scenarios of life which bring about change.
STYLE:       drama/comedy with music
TOPIC:       essence of Christmas, selfless giving
SCRIPTURE:   Romans 3:21-25a
NOTES:       for CAST, SET, PROPS, MUSIC

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SCRIPT:               INTRODUCTION

LIGHTS COME UP FULLY.

(Wearing a thick sweater and leg warmers, WENDY enters
the room to put a tiny, straggly tree into a stand.
CAROLERS step onto side stage left to sing
“I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day”)

CAROLERS (sing vs. 1)   "I heard the bells on Christmas day
.        Their old familiar carols play
.        And mild and sweet the words repeat,
.        Of peace on earth, good will to men.
.        (vs. 2)  I thought how as the day had come,
.        The belfries of all Christendom
.        Had roll'd along th' unbroken song
.        Of peace on earth, good will to men.
.        (vs. 3)  And in despair I bow'd my head:
.        'There is no peace on earth,' I said,
.        'For hate is strong, and mocks the song
.        Of peace on earth, good will to men.'
.        (vs. 4)Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
.        'God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
.        The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
.        With peace on earth, good will to men.'
.        (vs. 5)  'Til ringing, singing on its way,
.        The world revolved from night to day,
.        A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
.        Of peace on earth, good will to men!'"
.                                                       2
(Hearing the CAROLERS, WENDY cringes, then runs around
anxiously, waving her arms, hoping that the CAROLERS
will quickly go away on their own.  SAM finally sticks
his body out of his office door with wild eyes.
He has to duck though, so he doesn’t hit his head
on the fallen ceiling beam, which crosses down
over the top frame of the door.)

SAM      What’s all the racket?  Is it that time again?

WENDY    I’m sure they are almost done.

SAM      Is it a long song?

WENDY    Probably not.

SAM      If they start up another, chase them away!

(SAM goes back into the office, ducking to miss hitting
his head on the beam that hangs from the ceiling.
WENDY paces the floor then looks at them through
the window.  Conducting, WENDY speeds up the tempo.
CAROLERS sing faster, along with WENDY’S conducting,
until the song is finished.  WENDY claps big without any
noise.  The CAROLERS start sing one note of another song
until WENDY puts up her hands a big “stop” motion.
CAROLERS leave the side stage left.
Relieved, WENDY goes back to the tree to shift into
place.  CHILDREN 1-3, who are bundled up in sweaters,
sneak down the stairs and then jump with excitement
with huge efforts to remain completely quiet.)

CHILD 1  (whispering)  Can we decorate the tree now, Mom?

CHILD 2  (whispering)  Please, please?

CHILD 3  (whispering)  Oh pleeeaaase?

(WENDY cringes with frantic gestures, but finally caves.
WENDY puts up a ‘one moment’ finger, turns to stage right
and tiptoes to the doorway, which is SAM’S office.)

WENDY    (sing-song voice)  Oh Sa-am.  Sam Edwards.
.        Saaaamuel.  Saaamuel Anthony Edwards.

(WENDY turns to CHILDREN with a smile and a funny shrug.
CHILDREN giggle, until SAM steps out in a rage, ducking
again to avoid hitting his head on the fallen beam.)

SAM      Please don’t call me like that!                3
.        I am not a child!

WENDY    Sssorry.  We’re all just wondering
.        if we can all decorate the tree right now.

SAM      Why are you bothering me with such nonsense?

WENDY    We were hoping that you’d join us?

SAM      (eyeing the tree)  Where did you get the tree?

WENDY    (firing off her rehearsed defense)
.        I priced out all trees-in all the lots in town,
.        taking distance into consideration for
.        vehicle-wear-and-tear and the amount of gas
.        it would use –this was the cheapest!  Now...
.        do we have permission to decorate it?

SAM      (pauses)  Just keep it quiet.

(As SAM exits to his office, with a duck to avoid
the fallen beam, WENDY and CHILDREN jump with quiet
excitement as they pull out the two boxes of decorations
from the side.)

CHILDREN (singing with whispers)  "Oh Christmas tree,
.        Oh Christmas tree, how lovely are your branches.
.        Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree,
.        how lovely are your branches."

(WENDY and CHILDREN only are able to pull out a few
of the homemade decorations and talk about them.
They never get to decorate.)

CHILD 1  If we had some scrap paper, we could make
.        a snowflake chain.

WENDY    Maybe later.

CHILD 2  (laughing)  Look at this one, here.

CHILD 3  It’s cute.

CHILD 2  (a little louder)  But what is it?

CHILD 1  You made that for Mom in kindergarten,
.        don’t you remember?

CHILD 3  What is it?
.                                                       4
CHILD 2  (louder)  It was supposed to be a reindeer.

CHILD 1  (loudly)  Ha ha ha, it looks more like
.        a stick dog.

CHILD 3  A sick dog?

CHILD 2  A STICK - dog.

CHILD 3  I thought you said sick.

CHILD 1  With an ear infection and sore throat.

(CHILD 1 howls funny and the CHILDREN burst out laughing.
WENDY laughs while she tries to shush them.)

CHILD 2  Is this supposed to be a snowman?

CHILD 1  It’s Frosty!

CHILD 2  After he melted?

(CHILDREN laugh again as CHILD 2 sings out loudly.)

CHILD 2  (singing)  Oh, Freezy the snowman-
.        had a head of slushy snow.

CHILD 3  (singing)  With a melted ear –

CHILD 1  (singing)  And a droopy nose –

CHILD 2  (singing)  And some eyes made out of tears!

(SAM steps out abruptly.)

CHILDREN (singing)  FREEZY THE SNOWMAN-

SAM      I’m trying to work here!

(CHILDREN clap their hands over their mouths.)

WENDY    It’s the holidays.  (shoos the KIDS away)
.        Okay, let’s take a break.  We can finish –
.        we can do this later.  (seeing their sad faces)
.        Maybe you can make that snowflake chain now.
.        Come on, Dad needs a little peace and quiet.
.        (to SAM)  I thought you took some time off.
.        You said you would.

(While SAM talks, WENDY puts the boxes back to          5
the side.

SAM      I did.  This is it.  NOW - I have time to do
.        the projects that I usually don’t have time
.        to do because of OTHER work priorities.

WENDY    Well - you can’t expect the kids to be quiet.

SAM      Maybe if they understood that I’m working
.        for them – so they can have food, clothing
.        and a roof over their heads.

WENDY    That is slowly falling apart.

SAM      The roof is fine!

WENDY    You are so in denial.

SAM      Don’t give me that psycho-babble.

WENDY    Well, the kids have to be allowed to play
.        at some point.

SAM      Playing is for the birds!

WENDY    Well, sorry that we’re such an inconvenience
.        to you.  Will you at least have some time
.        tonight to buy some gifts?

SAM      You know I hate shopping!

WENDY    Well, the kids would be pleased to know that
.        their father took some time out his schedule
.        to do something he hated and help pick out
.        their gifts.  And isn’t it great that we have
.        online shopping now so we can find the best
.        deals – right from the comforts of our home?

Sam      You and your gifts.

WENDY    It’s Christmas.

SAM      Christmas isn’t about getting gifts.

WENDY    That doesn’t mean we have to be
.        completely against the concept of giving.
.        Don’t you want to teach your children
.        the concept of sharing and – giving?

SAM      Which only promotes the attitude of wanting    6
.        and getting.  I am not in the business
.        of raising charity cases.

WENDY    What about just letting them know that they
.        are special?

SAM      Well, you know what the budget is for presents.

WENDY    It’s barely enough to – MAKE something.

SAM      You’re creative and resourceful.

WENDY    I’ve had to be.  But it’s getting more
.        and more challenging to think of ways to
.        recreate toilet paper rolls and shoeboxes.

SAM      Wendy, you know I’m not THAT bad.

WENDY    Hah!

SAM      Isn’t Christmas supposed to be more about joy?
.        Huh?  All I hear is YOU - complaining.  The way
.        I see it, the kids are far better off that
.        they aren’t being spoiled.  They don’t expect
.        the world, like other children.

WENDY    There is being responsible with money,
.        and then there’s just being plain old cheap.

SAM      So you don’t want a nest egg saved up
.        for retirement?

WENDY    Will we live long enough to enjoy it?
.        I’m sure our children or grandchildren will?

(While WENDY is talking, there is a knock at the door.)

SAM      Do you want me to chase them away?

WENDY    Pardon?

SAM      There’s someone at the door.

WENDY    I didn’t hear the doorbell.

(There is knocking again.)

SAM      I guess the doorbell isn’t working.

WENDY    Will this ever get fixed?                      7

SAM      Knocking is just as effective!  Somehow
.        the pilgrims managed without doorbells.

(WENDY gasps as she lets MARILYN in.)

WENDY    Oh, hi Marilyn.  Come in.

MARILYN  I’m here to drop off those spices you ordered.

(MARILY puts the box down on the sofa.)

MARILYN  (seeing WENDY’S legwarmers)  Oh, legwarmers,
.        I haven’t seen those since the 80s.  Trying
.        to resurrect that old fashion icon?

WENDY    (sarcastically)  Yeesss, that’s what I’m
.        trying to do – make a fashion statement
.        while bringing back the good ol’ days.

SAM      (opens the box to look inside)
.        You ordered – spices from around the world?
.        WHY in the world would you order spice?
.        And why would you order a life-supply?

MARILYN  It’s a fund raiser.  For a good cause.

(WENDY sees that SAM is about to explode.)

WENDY    AND cost effective!

(Feeling awkward, MARILYN, has been looking around
to find some way to change the subject.)

MARILYN  Oh!  I love your old house!  It’s magnificent.
.        So much character.  A fixer-upper?

WENDY    More and more so - every day.

SAM      It’s been in my family for over 100 years.

MARILYN  Well, it’s good to hang on to one’s heritage.
.        There must be so many memories, then.

(This strikes a chord with SAM, and thinks with a scowl.)

SAM      No.  Not really.  At least,
.        not that I can remember.

(MARILYN balks, finding this odd.)                      8

MARILYN  (shivering)  Wow!  Is it me or does it
.        feel colder in here than outside?
.        Old houses, huh?

WENDY    Riiight, that’s why it feels cold.

SAM      And the price of gas is supposed to go up
.        yet again.  Cornered market, I’d say.

MARILYN  (feeling awkward again)
.        Well, I won’t keep you any longer.

SAM      (emphatic and impatient agreement)
.        YES!  THANK you!

WENDY    Yes, thanks for dropping this off, Marilyn.

MARILY   We should go out for coffee sometime.

WENDY    That WOULD be nice.  
.        (after MARILYN is gone, WENDY turns to SAM)
.        Well that was rude.

SAM      What?  I was just agreeing with her.
.        She’s actually been our best visitor
.        of all time.  She stayed for only –
.        (checks watch) -three and a half minutes.

(WENDY shows her frustration with a few gestures.
About to leave, WENDY stops to eye him.)

WENDY    Seriously, you really need to fix things
.        around here.  It’s getting a bit dangerous.
.        I’m going to get our Christmas meatloaf started.

SAM      Make sure you cut the amount of meat in half
.        and supplement it with bread.

(WENDY gasps loudly and stomps to the kitchen.)

SAM      They say the price of beef
.        is going to double.

(Angry and frustrated, SAM goes to the office and
walks into the beam.  Use an arm to make a thud sound.
SAM looks stunned as he reels around, falls down.)

LIGHTS DIM SLIGHTLY.
.                                                       9
(CAROLERS at side stage left sing “What Child is This?”)

CAROLERS (singing vs.2)  
.        “Why lies He in
.        such mean estate
.        Where ox and ass are feeding?
.        Good Christian fear;
.        for sinner here
.        The silent word is pleading.

.        (chorus)  
.        “This, this is Christ the King,
.        Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
.        Haste, haste to bring Him laud,
.        The Babe, the Son of Mary.

.        (verse 2)  
.        “So bring Him incense,
.        gold and myrrh,
.        Come, peasant, king, to own Him;
.        The King of kings
.        salvation brings,
.        Let loving hearts enthrone Him.

.        (chorus)  
.        “This, this is Christ the King,
.        Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
.        Haste, haste to bring Him laud,
.        The Babe, the Son of Mary.”

.                         ACT 1

(SAM gets up like nothing has happened. Getting agitated,
SAM rushes over to the front door, and opens it to yell
at the CAROLERS.)

SAM      No!  No-no!  What did I tell you all last night?
.        I don’t want to be – sung to.  No singing!

(CAROLERS cut off singing and leave side stage left.
WENDY comes down the stairs with two suitcases and
heads for the front door, but stops when she comes
face to face with SAM.)

SAM      What are you doing?  Where are you going?

WENDY    Don’t worry, I switched off all the lights
.        when I left the room.

SAM      What are you talking about?                   10

WENDY    I’m just done.  I’ve had it.
.        There’s only so much a person can take.
.        I cannot put up with this anymore.

SAM      You’re leaving me and the kids?

WENDY    No, just you!  The kids are already in the car.

SAM      So, you’re leaving because the price of beef
.        is going up?  I cannot control the stock market.

WENDY    No, but you totally control the finances here.
.        There isn’t any opportunity for any fun.
.        And don’t tell me it’s for the birds.

SAM      But why can’t you understand, I’m just being
.        responsible and taking care of the family –

WENDY    Maybe you mean well, I think, but I feel
.        like I’m choking.  Dying, in fact.
.        Is THAT taking care of us?

SAM      I’m able to do without things.  I wouldn’t
.        expect you to do something that I couldn’t do.

WENDY    Wow!  Such sacrifice!  But - can it really
.        be called ‘sacrifice’ if you are doing
.        exactly what YOU - WANT?

SAM      I just don’t want - to end up deep in debt.
.        I do not want - to become a charity case,
.        or someone to be pitied.

WENDY    Then how can you not see how pitiful this is?
.        We have no debt.  In fact, we have piles
.        and piles of money somewhere!  You are
.        self-employed with a well-paying business.

SAM      Which could change at any time.
.        The market is crazy!
.        We must do what we can to survive.

WENDY    We could do a little more than just – survive.

SAM      So you want to be one of those women who has
.        to have their nails done every week, and –
.        shop for shoes and designer clothes until
.        there isn’t any room in the closets?
.                                                      11
WENDY    Will you only be happy until you have saved
.        and saved and saved until there isn’t any room
.        in all the banks in the all world?...
.        I would just be happy for clothes that didn’t
.        HAVE to come from a secondhand store.

(WENDY puts on an old, outdated coat while talking.)

SAM      What is wrong with recycling?

WENDY    Why do you assume that I want to squander
.        everything away?  Can’t you see, there’s
.        a happy middle there someplace between
.        squandering – and hoarding.

SAM      I do not hoard.

(WENDY is about to leave, but stops.)

WENDY    You keep saying that you love this house that
.        you grew up in, but yet, you do not maintain it.
.        It is falling apart, and soon, it will collapse
.        in a pile of rubble all around you.
.        If you truly loved the house, you would
.        make sure that it got what it needed, and
.        looked – at least – respectable.  I feel –
.        like this house.  

SAM      Then you should know – that - I love you.

WENDY    You didn’t hear a thing I said!  Our family –
.        is like this house – it is falling apart.
.        You do sacrifice.  You sacrifice US – for money.

(WENDY leaves through the front door.  SAM becomes
contemplative and paces slowly while speaking.)

SAM      Why would she leave after all we’ve been through
.        and having come this far? - She’ll be back.
.        She couldn’t survive on her own with that
.        kind of thinking.

(SAM lies back down on the floor.)

LIGHTS COME BACK UP.

(SAM gets up rubbing his head and staggering.
WENDY suddenly peeks out from the kitchen door
and comments sarcastically.)
.                                                      12
WENDY    Did you want to come and weigh the meat
.        or anything?

SAM      You’re back!

WENDY    Yeah, I thought I heard something.
.        Like a bang.  Or thud.  Is everything okay?

SAM      I’m hoping.  I’m just wondering
.        what you are doing?

WENDY    (curiously)  I just stuck the meatloaf
.        into the oven.

SAM      You’re not going anywhere?

WENDY    I’ll be going back into the kitchen now
.        to prepare the potatoes.
.        Did you want a play-by-play report
.        on supper’s progress?

SAM      But - you’re okay?  Do you need anything?
.        Did you forget anything at the grocery store?

WENDY    Why?  Are YOU going anywhere?

SAM      You know me better than that.

WENDY    I do, that’s why I asked.

SAM      I’ve already made my weekly trip out for all
.        my errands.  We need to always - plan ahead.

WENDY    (joining the last part)  Plan ahead.

SAM      You HAVE been getting better at that.

WENDY    (gasping)  Is that some sort of
.        encouragement?  Or – compliment?
.        I’m only human.  You know?
.        I love you, but I don’t know
.        how much more of this I can take.

(CHILDREN come running down the stairs with
a paper snowflake garland.)

CHILD 3  Look, look what we made.

SAM      Where’d you get the paper?
.                                                      13
CHILD 2  From the trash bin.

SAM      Did you switch the lights off
.        in your room?

(CHILD 2 quickly turns to run back up the stairs.)

CHILD 1  Can we finish decorating the tree now?

SAM      No!

WENDY    Not yet.

CHILD 3  Why?

CHILD 1  When?

WENDY    I’m making Christmas supper now.
.        Do you kids want to help peel potatoes?

CHILD 1  (happily)  Okay!

(CHILD 2 comes back in.)

CHILD 2  What?  What did I miss?

CHILD 1  (excited)  We get to help MOM make potatoes!

CHILD 2  Okay... but you do realize –
.        that’s not as fun as decorating the tree?

(As CHILDREN exit to kitchen, WENDY turns to SAM.)

WENDY    Well, go on, quickly try to get
.        your work done before supper!

(As WENDY exits through the kitchen door,
SAM mutters under his breath.)

SAM      Don’t talk to me like I’m a child.
.        (once WENDY is gone, mutterings become angrier)
I’m not a child!
.        Stop treating me like a child!

(SAM storms toward the office door while looking back.
He runs into the beam again and falls to the floor.)

LIGHTS DIM SLIGHTLY.

(CAROLERS step onto side stage left to sing            14
“How Great Our Joy”)

CAROLERS (verse 2)  “There shall be born,
.        so he did say,
.        In Bethlehem a Child today.
.        How great our joy!
.        Great our joy!
.        Joy, joy, joy, Joy, joy, joy!
.        Praise we the Lord
.        in heav’n on high!
.        Praise we the Lord
.        in heav’n on high!

.        (verse 3)  “There shall the Child
.        lie in a stall,
.        This Child who shall redeem us all.
.        How great our joy!
.        Great our joy!
.        Joy, joy, joy, Joy, joy, joy!
.        Praise we the Lord
.        in heav’n on high!
.        Praise we the Lord
.        in heav’n on high!

.        (verse 4)  “This gift of God
.        we’ll cherish well,
.        That ever joy our hearts shall fill.
.        How great our joy!
.        Great our joy!
.        Joy, joy, joy, Joy, joy, joy!
.        Praise we the Lord
.        in heav’n on high!
.        Praise we the Lord
.        in heav’n on high!”

.                         ACT 2

(SAM sits up and looks around curiously.  Hearing the
CAROLERS, he gets up angrily.)

SAM      What am I hearing?  When’ll they leave me alone!

(SAM is ready to head for the front door when-
OLD SAM walks out of the office wearing a winter hat
and a tattered sweater.  Shivering, OLD SAM opens
the front door and looks out.)

O.SAM    How many times must I tell you –
.        I don’t wanna be caroled!
.                                                      15
(When O.SAM slams the door shut, some snow falls down –
from above (from the roof, mime it if it can’t be done.)
Grabbing a broom nearby, SAM opens the door again
to sweep out the snow, then closes the door carefully
so more snow will fall.  OLD SAM looks up to make sure.
While OLD SAM is doing this, SAM gets up and watches
curiously.  When he speaks, OLD SAM cannot hear him.
SAM stands right next to OLD SAM and looks up with him.)

SAM      Ah, excuse me?  Ah, look - look what you’ve done
.        to my house!  There’s – there’s a hole
.        in the ceiling – and the ceiling above that –
.        and the roof.  What’s going on here?...
.        Why can’t you hear me?  Are you deaf?
.        What are you doing in my house, anyway?
.        Who are you?  Hellooooo!

(SAM waves his arms in front of OLD SAM, who does
not see this.  Wandering to the end table, OLD SAM
picks up the phone, debating if he should call anybody.)

SAM      That’s it – call a repair man.
.        It’s your fault – you should pay!  What are you
.        waiting for?  This should be fixed immediately.
.        Don’t you know?  Holes in the roof -
.        equals water damage - which equals wood rot  -
.        which equals – more money in repairs-

(WOMAN knocks at the door.  Hearing that,
OLD SAM puts the receiver down curiously and
heads for the front door.)

SAM      No!  Don’t give up.
.        Why are you bothering with the door?
.        (there is knocking at the door again)
.        Oh right, the doorbell isn’t working.

(When OLD SAM opens the door, a YOUNG WOMAN steps in.)

WOMAN    Hello, Sam!

SAM      Sam?

O.SAM    I am Mr. Edwards to you, young lady!
.        Have you never been taught respect?

WOMAN    So sorry!  I will add your surname
.        to our information document.  We just have
.        your first name on our call-back list.  
.                                                      16
O.SAM    Better yet, take my name right OFF the list.

WOMAN    Well, it’s for a good cause.  And the products
.        are top of the line - at a great price.
.        So, perhaps you want to buy some spices.

O.SAM    I’ve got plenty of spice, thank you!

SAM      I knew it.  I knew that spice would be around
.        for years!

WOMAN    Maybe there is a spice that your wife
.        doesn’t have yet.

O.SAM    There’s no wife.  Wife is gone.  She left me.
.        Years ago, in fact.

WOMAN    Oh, sorry to hear that.  Well, then,
.        it’s still for a good cause – helping orphans –

O.SAM    No need for spice!

SAM      Can’t you hear, lady?

WOMAN    (not hearing SAM)  Okay, got it!  Take care!
.        And merry Christmas.

O.SAM    But – ah... Okay - you – ah – you too.

(OLD SAM is about to close the door, then looks up.
He closes the door carefully.  Shivering, OLD SAM
goes to thermostat and thinks about turning up the heat.
SAM follows to watch and question.)

SAM      Wow!  You keep it cold.
.        I don’t think it could hurt to turn it up –
.        just a bit.  I mean,
.        at these temperatures, I’m amazed
.        the water pipes haven’t frozen and burst.

(OLD SAM thinks better and leaves it alone.
SAM holds out his hands in astonishment, then
watches as OLD SAM grabs another blanket from beside
the Christmas tree, then shuffles toward the office
when there is another knock at the door.

SAM &
O.SAM    What is this, Grand Central Station?

(OLD SAM goes to door, peeks out the window,           17
then opens the door.)

O.SAM    Yes?

(MARTIN and his daughter NANCY step in.  MARTIN carries
a food hamper, and NANCY caries a big present.)

MARTIN   Hey, Sam.  Samuel!  Samuel Anthony Edwards.

SAM      Don’t talk to me like a child!

MARTIN   How’s it going?

O.SAM    (bitterly)  Fine.

MARTIN   Martin.

O.SAM    Pardon?

MARTIN   Martin.  That’s my name.  I’m your neighbor.
.        You knew my mother, Sarah,
.        back when you were a young boy. Remember?

O.SAM    No, I don’t.

MARTIN   Well, this is my daughter, Nancy.
.        An, what did we get you from?

O.SAM    I have work to do.

MARTIN   On Christmas?

SAM      Hey, it’s the busiest time of the year!

MARTIN   You need to stop and enjoy yourself
.        once in a while.  Have some fun.

O.SAM    Fun is for the birds.
.        (eyes boxes suspiciously) Ah, what is it you want,
.        or are you only here to harass me?
.        Because whatever you’re selling – I’m not buying.

MARTIN   Just being neighborly.  Seeing how
.        every year we invite you over
.        to share our Christmas meal -
.        and every year you turn us down –
.        we thought we’d bring some Christmas to you.

O.SAM    Why?
.                                                      18
NANCY    It’s Christmas.

O.SAM    But I don’t need your help.

MARTIN   (looking around curiously)  Ah, okay, but –

O.SAM    (looks at gift)  And I don’t need
.        anybody’s charity.

NANCY    This isn’t charity.  It’s a gift.

O.SAM    What is the difference?

SAM      Took the words right out of my mouth!

NANCY    There’s a huge difference.

MARTIN   We just want to share with you –

O.SAM    I don’t want to share!  I look after myself!
.        And whatever I need, I will get.

(OLD SAM waves them off and is about to hobble away.
MARTIN quickly thinks of something.)

MARTIN   JOY!

(OLD SAM stops and turns around, sarcastically amused.)

MARTIN   We want to share our joy with you.

O.SAM    How in the world can you possibly share joy?

NANCY    You’ve never heard the Christmas story?

O.SAM    Right, all about the house,
.        nothing was stirring,
.        not even a mouse,
.        when out through the chimney –

SAM      Good memory!

NANCY    I’m talking about the story when the hope
.        and joy to all mankind was born in a manger.

O.SAM    Don’t remember that one.

NANCY    You’ve never read the Bible?

O.SAM    I have an extensive library, with a family    19
.        Bible!  Somewhere on those shelves.
.        I think my parents would read it.

MARTIN   Ah, that’s great.  It’s great when parents
.        pass down such a heritage.  This story
.        is so life-changing.

SAM      How long do these people plan on staying here?

O.SAM    You’re not going to read this to me now are you?

MARTIN   You can read it on your own.  It is found in
.        the gospel of Luke.  Actually, the entire Bible
.        tells this story-

O.SAM    I – I really don’t have time for stories.

NANCY    It’s a true story.

O.SAM    Doesn’t’ matter.  Whatever!  Just another
.        autobiography of someone famous, blah-blah-blah.
.        I really have work to do.

(MARTIN motions for NANCY to get up.)

MARTIN   Of course, we don’t want to overstay our
.        welcome.

O.SAM    Don’t forget to take this-

NANCY    It’s yours, Mr. Edwards.  We’re leaving it
.        with you.  Merry Christmas.

O.SAM    Yeah, well, thank you for your non-charitable
.        items.  And I guess, merry Christmas,
.        blah-blah-blah.

MARTIN   (smiling gently)  Till next year, Sam.
.        Say merry Christmas to your children from us -
.        next time you talk.

SAM      Don’t slam -

(O.SAM slams the door and snow falls.)

SAM      -the door.

O.SAM    (muttering angrily)  Just how’d you figure
.        you were welcome here?
.                                                      20
SAM      When did these people move into the
.        neighborhood?  I don’t remember them at all.

(While SAM is talking, OLD SAM quickly sweeps up the snow
and sweeps it out the door, then closes the door gently.)

SAM      Aren’t you – even curious?

(OLD SAM is about to go to the office when he eyes
the gifts.  Opening the hamper lid, he balks slightly.)

SAM      Turkey.

(OLD SAM [mimes] taking a piece and tasting it.)

O.SAM    Hm.  And stuffing.

(OLD SAM takes another bite, then looks over at the gift.
He carefully opens it up.  Shocked, he puts a hand to
his face to stop any tears.  Finally, he pulls out
a new winter coat.  Slowly, he pulls off the ratty
blanket and puts that in the box, then puts on the coat.)

SAM      Wow, that’s a nice coat.
.        That would not have been cheap.  Unless -
.        they found this gem at a secondhand store.
.        (looking into the box)
.        There’s the receipt.  Wow!  NOT secondhand.

(OLD SAM looks into box and pulls out receipt to study.)

SAM      You could return it - and put the money
.        in the bank.

(OLD SAM puts the receipt back in the box and hugs
himself, feeling the warmth of the coat.)

SAM      Who gives gifts like that – to ornery neighbors?
.        I mean, look at you.  Look at myself –
.        I’ve become a grouchy – grump.
.        Was I always like that?
.        I’m assuming Wendy never calls,
.        but do the children ever call?  Are there
.        grandchildren who want to hear stories?

(Looking at the phone, OLD SAM slowly picks up the phone
and tries to dial out.  Realizing there is no dial tone,
he slams down the receiver.)

SAM      You haven’t been paying the phone bills?      21
.        How are you even able to do business?
.        What if the children tried to call?

(MAIL drops through the front door’s mail slot.
OLD SAM hobbles over to pick it up.  
SAM follows and watches.)

SAM      Well, looks like you got – two Christmas cards.
.        Are they?...  Are they from the children?
.        Aren’t you even going to look at them?

(OLD SAM goes to the hamper and places the mail
into the box, then carries it into the office.  
SAM slumps down onto the floor where
he had fallen previously.)

SAM      This is no way to live.  Can’t you see
.        how miserable you are?

(SAM puts his head in his hands and shakes his head,
distraught.)

LIGHTS COME UP.

(SAM gets up off the floor, rubbing his head.
As the phone rings, SAM perks up a bit and rushes
to the end table to answer.)

SAM      It could be the children!

(The phone stops ringing just as SAM reaches for it.)

WENDY    (yelling from off stage)
Got it.  It’s for me anyway!

(SAM goes from rubbing his head to scratching his head
with confusion.  The CHILDREN come out from the kitchen.)

CHILD 2  Are you finished working yet?

SAM      No?

CHILD 3  Why not?

SAM      Because there’s a lot to do.

CHILD 1  Why don’t you hire someone to help?

SAM      Because that costs money.
.                                                      22
CHILD 1  Couldn’t you do more work with more people?

SAM      That would cost even more money.
.        It is called – overhead.

CHILD 2  But then you wouldn’t have to do so much work.

SAM      Is that a question?

CHILD 2  No.  Just a comment.

CHILD 1  I have a question.  Are you really our father?

SAM      Why would you ask that?

CHILD 1  Because our teacher was saying that
.        fathers do things with their children.

CHILD 2  Like - build things –

CHILD 3  And plays games –

SAM      Playing is for the birds!  There’s too much work
.        that needs to be done! Adults have lots of work.

CHILD 1  ALL the time?

SAM      I am working right now.

CHILD 2  No you’re not.

SAM      It sure FEELS like I am.

CHILD 3  You’re just talking with us.

SAM      You’re firing questions at me.
.        I’m having to work at answering them all.
.        It’s making my head spin.

CHILD 2  Maybe your head is spinning from all the work.

CHILD 1  Was your mom angry at your father, too?

SAM      Is Mom angry at me?

CHILD 1  I don’t know.

SAM      Then what is with all the questions?

CHILD 1  Kids have questions.  Didn’t you ever         23
.        have questions when you were a kid?

SAM      No!  I think I was born just knowing all
.        the answers.  I can’t remember that far back.

CHILD 1  You can’t remember being a kid?
.        Don’t you have any memories at all?

(SAM sits down on the sofa, thinking.  
The CHILDREN gather around the sofa to watch SAM,
until another question arises.)

CHILD 2  Remember when you said you would take us
.        to the zoo?

SAM      I do NOT remember saying that.

CHILD 2  Oh right, that’s because you have NEVER
.        said that.

CHILD 3  Did you ever go to the zoo?

SAM      I don’t know.

CHILD 1  (astonished)  You can’t remember anything
.        from your childhood?!

CHILD 2  What are you ever going to tell your
.        grandchildren?

SAM      I guess, nothing.

CHILD 2  That will be boring.

SAM      Well, no, that’s not right.  I will tell them
.        about working hard and being responsible,
.        investing in high-yield bonds-

(CHILDREN all roll their eyes at the familiar speech.)

CHILD 2  That will be boring, too.

SAM      Are you all finished then?  I still have work.

(CHILDREN think, then start to go up the stairs.)

CHILD 1  All right.  Nice talking to you – FATHER –
.        if that’s even your REAL name.

(CHILDREN exit up the stairs.)                         24

SAM      What kind of!- of all the nerve!–
.        Do all kids talk that way these days?!

(Fuming with anger, SAM turns to go into his office
and hits his head again.  SAM falls to the floor.)

LIGHTS DIM SLIGHTLY.

(CAROLERS step onto side stage left to sing
“Christmas Bells Ringing.”)

CAROLERS (sing chorus)  “ Christmas bells ringing,
.        they’re ringing,
.        keep singing that
.        Christmas is singing,
.        it’s bringing good news.

.        (vs.1)  “Off’ring forgiveness,
.        freedom from sin,
.        Eternal glory
.        to enter in.

.        (chorus)  “Christmas bells ringing,
.        they’re ringing,
.        keep singing that
.        Christmas is singing,
.        it’s bringing good news.

.        (vs.2)  “Grace and His mercy,
.        peace, joy and love,
.        Strength and His wisdom
.        come from above.

.        (chorus)  “Christmas bells ringing,
.        they’re ringing,
.        keep singing that
.        Christmas is singing,
.        it’s bringing good news.

.        (tag)  “So let us keep ringing,
.        keep singing and
.        spreading the news!”

.                         ACT 3

(SAM sits up as he hears the CAROLERS, wondering if
this is just in his head.  Realizing that there are
CAROLERS outside, he jumps up to run to the door.)
.                                                      25
SAM      Oh those carolers!

(MRS. EDWARDS VOICE can be heard calling from kitchen.)

MRS.E    (calling)  Saaaamuel!

(SAM turns around, desperately wondering what is
happening now.  MRS. EDWARDS steps out happily
from the kitchen wearing an apron.)

MRS.E    Oh, carolers, how lovely.  (calls upstairs)
.        Sam, come and listen!  There are carolers.

Y.SAM    (calling from upstairs)  Don’t really care.
.        I hate Christmas music.

MRS.E    Well, it is time to come downstairs now anyway.
.        (waits then calls again with sing-song voice)
.        Samuel Edwards.  Samuel Anthony Edwards!

SAM      Stop calling me like that!

(CAROLERS stop singing and exit side stage left.
YOUNG SAM storms down the stairs and into the room
carrying a book.)

SAM      Is that – me?

Y.SAM    Stop calling me like that!  I am not a child!

SAM      Yeah, that’s me.

MRS.E    Well, yes you are a child.

Y.SAM    Well, I don’t want to be treated as a child.

MRS.E    Sam, I worry about you.  What is wrong
.        with being a child?

Y.SAM    Adults make all the decisions for me.
.        I can’t wait to make all the decisions!

(SAM steps closer to MRS. EDWARDS with great interest.)

MRS.E    We let you make some of your own decisions.
.        As parents, it’s important that we teach
.        you how to be responsible.

SAM      NOW we’ll see how I was abused as a child!
.                                                      26
MRS.E    But! – it is still important to learn
.        how to play and have some fun.

(SAM balks at this statement.)

Y.SAM    Fun and play is for the birds.

(MRS. EDWARDS turns away from YOUNG SAM with a hurt look,
but SAM can see it.)

SAM      Aw!  (looks back at YOUNG SAM)  Huh, maybe we
.        should listen - maybe Mom does know something.

MRS.E    (turning back to Y.SAM)  Now, I know you can’t
.        believe that is true.  Life isn’t just work.

Y.SAM    How else are you supposed to get ahead?

MRS.E    Ahead of what, dear?

Y.SAM    Ahead – of where one is?  Duh!
.        Now, I want to finish my reading!

SAM      Was I that rude to my own mother?  Why in the
.        world did Dad let me get away with that?
.        (noticing the fallen beam still there)  Why
.        didn’t Dad keep up the house repairs?  Sure,
.        leave me with a house that’s falling apart.

MRS.E    It’s not all about you, Sam.  Being part
.        of a family is not only working together,
.        but spending time together.  Now, I’ll need
.        a bit of help.  We have invited Mrs. Caldwell
.        and her children over for the Christmas meal.

Y.SAM    Aw!  Why?!

MRS.E    Because - they are struggling-

Y.SAM    WE are struggling.

MRS.E    We have more blessings than you realize.
.        And we want to share that with people less
.        fortunate than ourselves.  So!  Before they
.        arrive, you can go help your father.
.        He’s in the study.  (checks her watch)
.        He should be finished his devotions by now.
.        I’ll go finish setting the table.

(MRS. EDWARDS exits into the kitchen, while            27
YOUNG SAM stomps around on the floor, seething.)

Y.SAM    Why do we have to share!  I don’t want to share!

(Once YOUNG SAM is calmer, he heaves an angry sigh,
then leaves for the office.)

SAM      Have I always been this angry?
.        Why have I always been this angry?

(YOUNG SAM enters pushing MR. EDWARDS in a wheelchair
from the office toward the sofa.)

SAM      (tenderly in realization)  Dad.

MR.E     You are a fine wheelchair driver, my son.

Y.SAM    I don’t plan on being a wheelchair driver
.        when I grow up.

MR.E     Oh?  What do you want to be?

Y.SAM    Well, a businessman, like you.

MR.E     You don’t have to be a businessman,
.        you can be whatever you want to be.

(YOUNG SAM positions MR.EDWARDS beside Christmas tree,
then sits on the sofa.)

Y.SAM    I know, but, if I ever wind up being in
.        a wheelchair, at least I can still work.

MR.E     This was an accident, Sam.  I keep telling you.
.        There are a lot of things in life that
.        you cannot control.  You can be prepared
.        as much as possible, but you also have
.        to be willing to accept help.

Y.SAM    I will never be in that sort of position to need
.        anybody’s help.  I’m going to make sure that
.        I can do everything on my own.

MR.E     Well, the most important thing in life is -
.        to put our trust in God for everything.
.        Then God supplies all our needs.

(YOUNG SAM rolls his eyes and looks away.)

SAM      Okay, so why didn’t you ask Dad more          28
.        about that?  Huh?  Now he’s gone, and you
.        can never ask him what he meant by that.

(The doorbell rings.  MRS. EDWARDS rushes happily
to answer the door with a sing-song voice.)

MRS.E    I’ll get that!  (opening the door)
.        Come in everyone.  Welcome and merry Christmas.
.        Come on in.

(MRS.CALDWELL and all her KIDS enter.  MRS.CALDWELL
hands MRS.EDWARDS a container of juice.)

MRS.C    I – I don’t have much, but I brought some juice.

MRS.E    How lovely.  Thank you so much.  I will serve
.        this with our meal.  Now, I’ll bring this to
.        the kitchen while you take off your coats.

(MRS.EDWARDS leaves for the kitchen while
the CALDWELLS help each other take off their coats.)

Y.SAM    Aw, they’re here already.

SAM      Just how many children are there?

Y.SAM    I’m NEVER having kids.

SAM      SOME children would be good.  They can help
.        take care of you when you get older... or –
.        if you wind up having an accident.
.        So – you – never wind up – being alone – if
.        you’re not too miserable a person to be around.

(MRS. EDWARDS returns to take all the coats back into
the kitchen area.  Reappearing, MRS. EDWARDS then ushers
everyone over to the sofa area.  YOUNG SAM rushes over
to the tree, down stage, to sit on the floor and hide.)

MRS.E    We have a little while until supper is ready,
.        so please, sit down and make yourselves
.        comfortable.

(MRS. EDWARDS gives MR. EDWARDS a knowing nod as
MRS.CALDWELL and KIDS sit on the sofa to politely wait.)

MR.E     Well then, Sam, would you mind getting
.        the family Bible from the office.

(YOUNG SAM trudges off to office to get Bible.)        29

MR.E     Before our Christmas meal, we like to read
.        the Christmas story.  Would you all like that?

(KIDS all react positively.  SAM follows YOUNG SAM’S
actions, astonished that he found the Bible.)

SAM      (to Y.SAM)  You KNOW where the family Bible is?

(MR. EDWARDS takes the Bible from YOUNG SAM.  YOUNG SAM
goes to sit back on the floor in front of the tree,
down stage so no one can see him taking out his own book
and reading from that.  SAM walks over to tree to stand
between MR. EDWARDS and YOUNG SAM.  As MR. EDWARDS mimes
reading the Bible, EVERYONE else listens respectfully and
inquisitively.  SAM first talks to YOUNG SAM.)

SAM      Why didn’t you pay attention? (points to book)
.        What made YOUR book so much more important?
.        Or was it all about not wanting to be controlled
.        in any way – even if it meant NOT doing
.        something that was fun or – or good for you?
.        (gives up and turns to listen to MR.EDWARDS)

MR.E     The hope and joy of Christmas is God’s gift
.        to us.  And that is Jesus, who was born
.        so that He may die for our sins.  All you
.        have to do is believe, humble yourselves,
.        and confess your sins to receive this gift.

SAM      I remember that.  I must have heard that
.        when I was trying not to listen.

Y.SAM    (muttering)  Gifts are for charity cases.

MR.E     The gift is for everyone.  And to get to heaven,
.        everyone needs this gift.  As it is explained
.        in Romans (reading 3:21-25a) “But now apart
.        from the law the righteousness of God has been
.        made known, to which the Law and the Prophets
.        testify.  This righteousness is given through
.        faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.
.        There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,
.        for all have sinned and fall short of the glory
.        of God, and all are justified freely by
.        His grace through the redemption that came by
.        Christ Jesus.  God presented Christ as
.        a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding
.        of His blood — to be received by faith.”
.                                                      30
SAM      (to Y.SAM)  Did you at least KIND OF hear
.        that part?

MR.E     Let us pray.

(ALL bow their heads, except for YOUNG SAM who continues
to read book and SAM who watches MR. EDWARDS closely.)

MR.E     Dear Lord, we thank You for all the gifts
.        that You have given us.  Without You,
.        there is nothing.  

SAM      How could you possibly be so content?
.        You were in a wheelchair – unfairly so.

MR. E    (continuing)  But most importantly
.        we humbly thank You for sending Your only Son,
.        Jesus, in order that we might have the gift
.        of salvation.  May we celebrate this
.        all year round, and may we share this
.        and Your love with all of those around us.
.        Thank you for family, friends and neighbors,
.        and being able to enjoy and share even
.        the simplest things of life that You provide
.        for us – things that can taste so delicious –
.        we thank you for our food.  Amen.

(There are a few giggles at the last phrase.)

MR.E     And I would like to say in advance, I am also
.        very thankful for my wonderful, gracious wife,
.        who also knows how to make all this food
.        very tasty.

(There are more giggles.)

MRS.E    Well, thank for that very kind compliment, dear.
.        Our supper should be ready now.  After eating,
.        we can all decorate the tree together.
.        And there will be gifts, and singing.
.        But first - let us go enjoy some turkey.

KID      And stuffing?

MRS.E    (smiling)  Of course–and stuffing!

(WHILE MRS. CALDWELL and the KIDS enter the doorway
to the kitchen/dining room area, MRS. EDWARDS follows
while pushing MR. EDWARDS in his wheelchair.)
.                                                      31
MR.E     Why, thank you again, my dear.

SAM      (looks at YOUNG SAM still on the floor, reading)
.        What are you waiting for?  Go – join the – fun –
.        why don’t you.

(Older KID (SARAH) stays behind and studies YOUNG SAM.)

SARAH    Aren’t you coming?

Y.SAM    Yeah-yeah.  (closes his book and stands up)

SARAH    Your parents are so awesome.  Your dad’s name
.        is Martin, isn’t it?

Y.SAM    Yeah.

SARAH    You are so fortunate.  I wish my dad was around,
.        like yours is.

Y.SAM    My dad’s in a wheelchair, it’s not like he can
.        go very far or do too much.

SARAH    Well, when I grow up and have kids, if I ever
.        have a boy, I’m going to name him – Martin.  And
.        I’m going to tell my children all about Jesus.

Y.SAM    Blah-blah-blah.  If you don’t have anything
.        important to say – don’t bother telling me.

(YOUNG SAM walks to the kitchen.  SARAH sadly watches
for a moment then follows him into the kitchen.)

SAM      Well, that was rather rude and unnecessary...
.        Oh, my aching head.

(SAM holds his head and sits down on the floor where
he had fallen previously.)

LIGHTS COME BACK UP.

(CAROLERS step onto side stage left to sing
“O Thou Joyful, O Thou Wonderful.”)

CAROLERS (singing) “O Thou joyful,
.        O Thou wonderful,
.        Grace revealing Christmastide!
.        Jesus came to win us, from all sin within us.
.        Glorify the holy Child!
.                                                      32
CAROLERS (continue singing) “O Thou joyful,
.        O Thou wonderful,
.        Peace revealing Christmastide!
.        Darkness disappeareth, God’s own light
.        now neareth: Peace and joy to all betide!”

(SAM sits up, rubbing his head.  
WENDY, clearly upset, comes from the kitchen
and goes to the front door without seeing SAM.)

WENDY    Ohhhhh!  And - nooo- (hearing the CAROLERS)
.        –not now.  (pleading that they cannot hear)
.        Please not now.  Go away before he hears.
.        Oooh this is not happing.  This is so miserable.
.        Nothing is going right.

SAM      (slowly standing up)  What’s wrong?

WENDY    (turns, shocked)  Oh!  You mean,
.        besides the incessant carolers?
.        (sighs)  I burned the meatloaf.

(SAM freezes, thinking.  As if the CAROLERS
can sense this, they stop singing and freeze.  
As soon as SAM is able to speak again,
the CAROLERS quickly and quietly exit side stage left.)

SAM      Why?

WENDY    Do you think I wanted to burn the meatloaf?

SAM      I mean, how?

WENDY    I was talking on the phone with a friend.
.        (SAM stands there thinking of what to say)
.        I know you think such things are unnecessary,
.        but she is in a crisis and she needed somebody
.        to talk to. And– I’m sorry for wasting the meat.

SAM      Did – you want to invite her over?

WENDY    WHAT?

SAM      Maybe you should invite her over.
.        With her kids if she has any.

WENDY    And serve burned meatloaf?

SAM      Children!  Children!  Come here!  Now!
.                                                      33
WENDY    Are you all right?

(CHILDREN quickly appear at the bottom of the stairs
and stand next to WENDY.)

SAM      No!  I’ve been very wrong.  And – I’m sorry.
.        Please forgive me.

(EVERYONE is stunned and stand motionless.)

SAM      Now, get your coats.  We are – going to go out
.        for Christmas dinner.  (ALL are still stunned)
.        You can call up your friend and tell her
.        where to meet us.  I’ll google some restaurants.
.        There must be a few places that serve up a nice
.        turkey-and-stuffing meal.

(EVERYONE continues to be stunned and frozen in place.
SAM turns to go to the office but see the empty
floor space beneath the tree.)

SAM      And on our way, we’ll stop off at the mall
.        for some last minute gift shopping.  Then,
.        when we get home – we will – (thinking)

(SAM spins back around to look at the family.)

CHILD 1  Decorate the tree?

SAM      Yes!  Have hot cocoa and decorate the tree.
.        And – read the Christmas story.

CHILD 2  Can we sing?

SAM      Sure.  Ah, yes, we can sing.  We could even –
.        get really crazy – and go out there
.        to join those carolers – and spread –
.        (trying to think of the word)

CHILD 1  The joy of Christmas?

SAM      Exactly.  Yes.  We need to find and share
.        the joy of Christmas.

(SOLIST can sing “Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne”
while OTHER CAROLERS venture out,
joined by FAMILY and THE REST OF THE CAST,
unless they’re also CAROLERS.)

SOLOIST  (singing) “Thou didst leave Thy throne        34
.        and Thy kingly crown
.        When Thou camest to earth for me;
.        But in Bethlehem’s home was there found no room,
.        For Thy holy nativity.
.        O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
.        There is room in my heart for Thee!
.        (vs.4) “Thou camest, O Lord,
.        with the living Word,
.        That should set Thy people free;
.        But with mocking scorn and with crown of thorn,
.        They bore Thee to Calvary.
.        O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
.        There is room in my heart for Thee!
.        (vs.5)  “When the heav’ns shall ring
.        and the angels sing,
.        At Thy coming to victory,
.        Let Thy voice call me home,
.        saying, “Yet there is room –
.        There is room at My side for Thee.”
.        My heart shall rejoice, Lord Jesus,
.        When Thou comest and callest for me!”

(EVERYONE sings “Joy to the World.”)

ALL      (sing vs.1) “Joy to the World, the Lord is come!
.        Let earth receive her King;
.        Let every heart prepare Him room,
.        And Heaven and nature sing,
.        And Heaven and nature sing,
.        And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.
.        (vs.2) Joy to the World, the Savior reigns!
.        Let men their songs employ;
.        While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
.        Repeat the sounding joy,
.        Repeat the sounding joy,
.        Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.
.        (vs.3) No more let sins and sorrows grow,
.        Nor thorns infest the ground;
.        He comes to make His blessings flow
.        Far as the curse is found,
.        Far as the curse is found,
.        Far as, far as, the curse is found.
.        (vs.4) He rules the world with truth and grace,
.        And makes the nations prove
.        The glories of His righteousness,
.        And wonders of His love,
.        And wonders of His love,
.        And wonders, wonders, of His love”