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Lessons from the Mayberry Christmas Story

I love the "Christmas Story"episode of The Andy Griffith Show...and until recently, always wondered why they didn't do another Christmas episode in the seasons that followed. Then it hit me.

If you watch a lot of the other Sitcoms, they will have Christmas shows every season. And when you talk to friends and refer to those other shows' Christmas Specials, someone would always ask: Which season...1 or 2 or 3. It gets confusing.

But NOT SO with the Andy Griffith "Christmas Story" episode. I believe it to be the Christmas show standard for other shows to imitate. In this particular episode, Season 1 Episode 11, there is a mixture of comedy and spirituality, love and kindness. Here are some lessons we can learn from this episode:

CHEER: Spread Christmas Cheer like the Christmas Cards the boys got from the likes of the Hubacher Brothers, and Hilda May. GRACE: Andy let's the prisoners go home for Christmas to return after to finish out their sentence...an element of TRUST we don't often see nowadays. A little COMMERCIALIZATION: with "Sanny Claus" and decorating the tree, and exchanging gifts. EMPATHY: When they have to jail Sam...and then bring in his family, so they can have FAMILY TIME.

The loving SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS is shared among friends and family, with good food and with Miss Ellie singing "Away in a Manger" accompanied by Andy on the guitar. At the 2013 Mayberry Days, Margaret Kerry (Bess Muggins in this episode) shared with my wife, that Elinor Donahue was uneasy about singing on camera, although she could and did actually sing the song. Trying to convince her that it would be fine, Andy talked her into practicing it once just to see how it would go. She did the song and afterwards told Andy that she thought she could do it...and asked when he wanted to film it? With his patented ear-to-ear smile, Andy told her, "We just did."

We also see a "SCROOGE" character in old Ben Weaver...pretending he is "Bah Humbug" about Christmas, when all he really wants is to not be alone. He desires, like all of us, to be needed, loved and appreciated, and eventually manages to get himself arrested so he can be a part of their Christmas.

All of the elements in this episode remind me that the Christmas season is about all the things they are supposed to be...and that we should share the love that was originally given to us at the birth of the baby Jesus. So in this busy season, take time to notice those that are alone...those without food or shelter...those who've run across hard times and hard luck. Show compassion, love and grace where ever you see an opportunity.

Only one Christmas Story in all of the seasons of the Andy Griffith Show was needed to create "Christmas Magic", and it's just as relevant today as it was when it was shown back on December 19, 1960.

Have a very Mayberry Christmas...all year long.

- Keith
a.k.a. Col Harvey

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