Bo and Christmas


Title: Bo and Christmas #Greed and #contentment


  • 2017-12-23: White Rock Lake

When I was six years old, my parents didn’t have very much money. We lived in the state of Washington where the winters are really cold, and my dad worked as a carpenter, so in the winter there was very little work.

What we did have, though, was some land. And on that land, my dad was in the process of building a house.

When Christmastime rolled around that year, my dad went out and cut a tree from the property. He hauled it into the house, and set it up.

We didn’t have very much money for decorations, so my parents decided to use an old way of decorating the tree that was very cheap. We popped a bunch of popcorn. Then, We started to string it on thread. However, that took a really long time. So, we decided to just scatter the popcorn on the tree. It looked quite a bit like snow on the branches of the tree, so it worked well.

We had a cat named Bo and he was really excited. Those are all the popcorn on the tree and he thought he would eat very well. He climbed up the tree, and grabbed a piece of popcorn off a branch. Bo thought the popcorn tasted really good, but it was a bit difficult to reach out there on the branches. So, whether by intent or by accident, he shook the tree and all the popcorn fell off the tree and onto the floor where he could very easily reach it and eat his fill.

We put the greedy cat outside, popped some more popcorn, and put it on the tree again. Again, the cat shook the tree and made all the popcorn fall on the floor. Then he ate all the popcorn he wanted to eat and left the rest there for later.

This was becoming a real problem. It was a lot of work to clean up all the popcorn and it took a lot of time and some money to replace a popcorn on the tree. So my dad got an idea. After popping the corn he sprinkled cayenne pepper on it. Cayenne pepper is red so it’s a Christmas color. It’s also very hot. If you eat very much of it you will definitely know you’ve had cayenne pepper. When the cayenne pepper popcorn was ready we put it on the tree.

Again Bo climbed the tree. Again he shook the popcorn off the tree. Then, he took a bite of our cayenne pepper popcorn. He was very surprised. He didn’t like the spicy popcorn. It was burning his mouth and he didn’t know what to do about it. So he ran as fast as he could around and around the room.

My parents were sure that Bo would stop eating the popcorn after that. But Bo was too smart. He learned very quickly how to recognize the smell of cayenne pepper. He climbed the tree and shook it like he had done before. The popcorn fell down onto the floor just like before. But unlike before he smelled the popcorn before he ate it. You see, when you sprinkle cayenne pepper on popcorn it doesn’t actually get on every single piece of popcorn. So as he sniffed each piece of popcorn, Bo could detect which ones had cayenne pepper and which ones didn’t. He ate the ones that didn’t have cayenne pepper, and left the ones that did. Now, the mess was even worse than before. But both, the greedy cat, had his popcorn. That’s all he cared about.

But Bo wasn’t the only greedy one that Christmas. As I said, my family didn’t have very much money. So there weren’t very many presents under the Christmas tree. All our presents came from people in church who wanted to help our family. When Christmas morning came my brother and I started to open our presents. Each time I opened a present I asked my parents “Is that all?”

“Is that all?” I asked as I opened one present. “Is that all?” I asked as I opened another. “Is that all?” I asked as I opened a third present.

Finally, my mom asked me, “Why are you being so greedy? You should be thankful for what you have, instead of asking for more.”

I knew she was right. I knew I shouldn’t ask for lots of presents at Christmas.

That Christmas two of us were greedy. Bo the cat never learned his lesson. He stayed greedy and we had to stop putting popcorn on the Christmas tree. But I learned my lesson. After that, I was always okay whether I got many presents or few presents.

“Be content with what you have, for [God] has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ “ Hebrews 13:5 ESV