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Thoughts from Dr. Joe: Christmas story a gift

December 18, 2013|By Joe Puglia

Frankie V. was a bad dude. He was a caporegime, a captain in the most powerful crime family of the North Bronx. As a “made man,” an honor bestowed upon a mafioso of full Sicilian descent, he had a promising career in la famiglia. Frankie could snap his fingers and 10 gangsters would jump!

I’ve known a lot of tough guys in my life but nobody was meaner than Frankie V. Regardless, everyone has a weakness, the one thing that will bring you down to your knees. For some people it’s love, others money. For Frankie it was empathy. He had a soft spot in his heart. During Christmas, Frankie would distribute liquor to the men in the neighborhood, radios and toys to the kids and frozen turkeys to the mothers. Frankie hijacked trucks loaded with food and household goods en route to the city from La Guardia Airport. He was a modern-day Robin Hood.

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Christmas is about gifts; it always has been. It’s difficult to embrace the deeper meaning of the season and the association of gifts with that meaning. Meaning is found in the story of the first Christmas and the first gifts that abound from that occurrence. The Christmas story itself is a gift. Look what it gave us!

A Jewish teenager, Mary gave the first Christmas gift. Her Christmas present was the willingness to bring heaven down to Earth. She gave the world unconditional love.

Mary’s fiancé, Joseph, gave faith. He believed there was a divine plan to their predicament. It was faith that gave us this story.

The child brought forgiveness and salvation. The angels gave reassurance. “Fear not for behold we bring you tidings of great joy,” they proclaimed.

The shepherd boy gave his favorite lamb to the baby. The innkeeper’s wife gave a place for the homeless family to stay and a blanket to wrap the new mother and her baby. The drummer boy gave a melody that would dwell in our hearts.

The kings gave wonder, acceptance and courage. They offered wonder by surrendering logic, and common sense. Accepting the impossible, they suspended skepticism long enough to double-cross the insane King Herod, who frantically searched for the child who would change the world. With courage, the Wise Men helped the young family escape to a haven in Egypt.

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