Gaston is a French-Canadian reindeer who sometimes helps Santa on Christmas Eve.
Gaston: Merry Christmas, boys and girls! Joyeux Noel!
Bill: Merry Christmas, Gaston. How are you this afternoon?
Gaston: I am very excited as always on Christmas Eve.
Bill: I remember last year Santa came up with the idea of bringing a cow with him to bring milk to the boys and girls who were too poor to leave a glass of milk for Santa. So how did that go?
Gaston: Well, we discovered that a cow weighs so much that it slowed down Santa’s sleigh. So we came up with Plan B.
Bill: Which is?
Gaston: We are going to bring a goat this year, because goats are lighter than cows.
Bill: So I imagine you’ve had to learn a lot about goats this year to prepare for tonight.
Gaston: Ah, oui, we have learned a great deal about goats.
Bill: For example?
Gaston: Well, their favorite song is “Row, row, row your goat. . . .”
Bill: Oh, Gaston.
Gaston: And their favorite appetizer is escargoat.
Bill: Oh, stop!
Gaston: And their favorite car is a Chèvre-rolet.
Bill: That’s enough!
Gaston: I guess I really got your goat this Christmas, huh?
Bill: I guess you did, Gaston! Well, say Merry Christmas to the boys and girls until next year!
Gaston: Merry Christmas, boys and girls, Joyeux Noel!
Bill: Well, boys and girls, as you look at the crèche, what do you see more than anything else?
Remembering the straw in the stable in Bethlehem, people believed that it was good luck to have straw in their house at Christmastime.
In Croatia, people spread straw under the dining room table to symbolize the manger.
And in some places, people slept on the straw instead of in their beds on Christmas Eve.
And in France, at the beginning of Advent, the manger was empty, like this [take Jesus and all the straw out of the manger]. And each night, if a child had done a good deed for someone, he or she would get to add a straw to the manger. And hopefully, by Christmas Eve, there would be a soft bed of straw for the baby Jesus.
And especially in Scandinavian countries, sometimes the straw was tied into wreaths. And sometimes they created a Yule Goat, like this [take the Yule Goat out of the bag].
The Yule Goat made sure that people were preparing for Christmas, and they brought Christmas presents to children in Sweden.
So tonight, after the service, if you’ll go to my office, Mrs. Roberts will give each of you one of these little straw goats, to remind you of the straw in the manger, and to do good things for people, and how much Jesus loves you.