Shawn ran in the house waving a card in the air. "Mom! Mom! Guess what?" Shawn didn't wait for a response. "I've been invited to a Christmas party with the Cards!"
Julie gave her son a blank look.
"You know, the Cardinals?"
She shook her head.
"The St. Louis Cardinals? The baseball team?? Just how long have we lived here again, Mom?" Shaw answered, with a hint of bewilderment in his eyes.
Julie punched Shawn lightly in the shoulder. "I was just teasing you, Shawn. Of course I know who the Cardinals are. Now let me see that card"
The two sat down at the table.
Come spend and evening with Albert Pujols and the St. Louis Cardinals!
Current and former players will share their testimonies and stories about the real meaning of Christmas.
We will also play a baseball game all together, outside if the weather permits.
Your parents may stay if they would like, and we will even have child care for younger siblings.
There will be plenty of food, so come hungry.
Come celebrate Christmas with the Cards!
Friday, December 19, 2008, 7:00pm at Busch Stadium
"Can I go, Mom? Can I? Pleeeeeaaaaaaaaaassssssssseeeeeeeeeee?"
"Hmmm..." Julie replied, looking at the calendar. "We don't have anything else to do that night. I think we can go."
"YES!" Shawn exclaimed, pumping his fist in the air.
"How much longer?"
"Not much, Shawn. Just two more stops."
Shawn and Julie stepped off the light-rail car and walked across the street to the stadium, following the signs to the Christmas party.
Children of all ages were decked out in Cardinal red, as the room buzzed with excitement.
"He's coming!" one of the children shouted.
Shawn stood on his tiptoes trying to see the players.
The room erupted into cheers at Albert Pujols and other players entered the room, greeting children and handing out special baseball cards.
Albert Pujols walked up to Shawn.
"What's you're name?"
"Hi, Shawn. I'm glad you came tonight. You can call me 'Big Al,' or 'Al,' ok? Would you like a baseball card?"
"Yes please, Mr.... I mean, Big Al." Al walked away, and Shawn turned the card over and over in his hands. On the front was a picture of Albert Pujols. On the back, instead of statistics, was the Christmas story.
Shawn and Julie grabbed some food, and found a place to sit as the players approached the microphones.
"Thank you for coming tonight," Big Al began. "There is one reason we are here tonight, and that's because of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!" He went on to explain about his childhood in the Dominican Republic and his dream of becoming a baseball player.
"But the most important thing in my life isn't baseball. It's Jesus Christ. Those cards we gave you have the Christmas story on the back. I'd like some of you to bring your cards up here and read some of it."
Shawn raised his hand high in the air. Big Al looked around the room, and his eyes settled on Shawn's.
"Shawn, right? Come on up here."
Shawn listened as some of the other kids read their parts of the Christmas story. Then it was his turn to read. "Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Shawn sat down and listened as the others finished the Christmas story.
Big Al then went on to explain how Jesus came to earth to save people from their sins. Shawn listened attentively, and when an invitation was given to accept Christ as Savior, Shawn raised his hand.
Shawn and Julie stepped onto the light-rail car to head home.
"That was so cool, Mom! I can't believe I got to be on the same team as Albert Pujols! And we won!"
"I'm glad you enjoyed it so much. I did too."
"Thanks for taking me, Mom. I'll always remember this. Christmas with the Cards..." Shawn pulled the baseball card... his Christmas baseball card out of his pocket. "...and with Jesus Christ, too!"
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