It’s long been a family tradition in many a home to spend the chilly winter nights reading aloud. A particularly wonderful Christmas tradition is to read aloud a poignant, inspiring short story reflecting the real reason we celebrate Jesus’s birth.
This collection of heartwarming, inspirational Christmas stories (and books, at the end) will remind you of what the Christmas season is all about: giving, love, and humility, but especially Jesus!
[I recommend, if you plan a reading, printing this out so the ads don’t distract you or the hearers.]
A Christmas Mistake
Each December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience.
I had cut back on nonessential obligations – extensive card writing, endless baking, decorating, and even overspending.
Yet still, I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family moments, and of course, the true meaning of Christmas.
My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting season for a six year old. For weeks, he’d been memorizing songs for his school’s “Winter Pageant.”
I didn’t have the heart to tell him I’d be working the night of the production.
Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his teacher. She assured me there’d be a dress rehearsal the morning of the presentation.
All parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then.
Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise.
So, the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in ten minutes early, found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down.
Around the room, I saw several other parents quietly scampering to their seats.
As I waited, the students were led into the room.
Each class, accompanied by their teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor. Then, each group, one by one, rose to perform their song.
Because the public school system had long stopped referring to the holiday as “Christmas,” I didn’t expect anything other than fun, commercial entertainment – songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes and good cheer.
So, when my son’s class rose to sing, “Christmas Love,” I was slightly taken aback by its bold title.
Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens, red sweaters, and bright snowcaps upon their heads.
Those in the front row- center stage – held up large letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song.
As the class would sing “C is for Christmas,” a child would hold up the letter C.
Then, “H is for Happy,” and on and on, until each child holding up his portion had presented the complete message, “Christmas Love.”
The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her; a small, quiet, girl in the front row holding the letter “M” upside down – totally unaware her letter “M” appeared as a “W”.
The audience of 1st through 6th graders snickered at this little one’s mistake.
But she had no idea they were laughing at her, so she stood tall, proudly holding her “W”.
Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter continued until the last letter was raised, and we all saw it together.
A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen.
In that instant, we understood – the reason we were there, why we celebrated the holiday in the first place, why even in the chaos, there was a purpose for our festivities.
For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear:
“Christ Was Love”
And, I believe, He still is.
“If you’re missing Baby Jesus, call 7126.”
About a week before Christmas the family bought a new nativity scene. When they unpacked it they found 2 figures of the Baby Jesus. “Someone must have packed this wrong,” the mother said, counting out the figures. “We have one Joseph, one Mary, three wise men, three shepherds, two lambs, a donkey, a cow, an angel and two babies. Oh, dear! I suppose one of the sets down at the store is missing a Baby Jesus, because we have 2.”
“You two run back down to the store and tell the manager that we have an extra Jesus. Tell him to put a sign on the remaining boxes saying that if a set is missing a Baby Jesus, call 7126. Put on your warm coats, it’s freezing cold out there.”
The manager of the store copied down mother’s message and the next time they were in the store they saw the cardboard sign that read, “If you’re missing Baby Jesus, call 7126.” All week long they waited for someone to call. Surely, they thought, someone was missing that important figurine. Each time the phone rang mother would say, “I’ll bet that’s about Jesus,” but it never was.
Father tried to explain there are thousands of these scattered over the country and the figurine could be missing from a set in Florida or Texas or California. Those packing mistakes happen all the time. He suggested just put the extra Jesus back in the box and forget about it.
“Put Baby Jesus back in the box! What a terrible thing to do,” said the children. “Surely someone will call,” mother said. “We’ll just keep the two of them together in the manger until someone calls.”
When no call had come by 5:00 on Christmas Eve, mother insisted that father “just run down to the store” to see if there were any sets left. “You can see them right through the window, over on the counter,” she said. “If they are all gone, I’ll know someone is bound to call tonight.”
“Run down to the store?” father thundered. “It’s 15 below zero out there!”
“Oh, Daddy, we’ll go with you,” Tommy and Mary began to put on their coats. Father gave a long sigh and headed for the front closet. “I can’t believe I’m doing this,” he muttered. Tommy and Mary ran ahead as father reluctantly walked out in the cold. Mary got to the store first and pressed her nose up to the store window. “They’re all gone, Daddy,” she shouted. “Every set must be sold.”
“Hooray,” Tommy said. “The mystery will now be solved tonight!”
Father heard the news still a half block away and immediately turned on his heel and headed back home. When they got back into the house they noticed that mother was gone and so was the extra Baby Jesus figurine. “Someone must have called and she went out to deliver the figurine,” my father reasoned, pulling off his boots. “You kids get ready for bed while I wrap mother’s present.”
Then the phone rang. Father yelled “answer the phone and tell ’em we found a home for Jesus.” But it was mother calling with instructions for us to come to 205 Chestnut Street immediately, and bring three blankets, a box of cookies and some milk. “Now what has she gotten us into?” my father groaned as we bundled up again. “205 Chestnut. Why that’s across town. Wrap that milk up good in the blankets or it will turn to ice before we get there. Why can’t we all just get on with Christmas? It’s probably 20 below out there now. And the wind is picking up. Of all the crazy things to do on a night like this.”
When they got to the house at 205 Chestnut Street it was the darkest one on the block. Only one tiny light burned in the living room and, the moment we set foot on the porch steps, my mother opened the door and shouted, “They’re here, Oh thank God you got here, Ray! You kids take those blankets into the living room and wrap up the little ones on the couch. I’ll take the milk and cookies.”
“Would you mind telling me what is going on, Ethel?” my father asked. “We have just walked through below zero weather with the wind in our faces all the way.”
“Never mind all that now,” my mother interrupted. “There isn’t any heat in this house and this young mother is so upset she doesn’t know what to do. Her husband walked out on her and those poor little children will have a very bleak Christmas, so don’t you complain. I told her you could fix that oil furnace in a jiffy.”
My mother strode off to the kitchen to warm the milk while my brother and I wrapped up the five little children who were huddled together on the couch. The children’s mother explained to my father that her husband had run off, taking bedding, clothing, and almost every piece of furniture, but she had been doing all right until the furnace broke down.
“I been doin’ washin’ and ironin’ for people and cleanin’ the five and dime,” she said. “I saw your number every day there, on those boxes on the counter. When the furnace went out, that number kept going’ through my mind. 7162 7162. Said on the box that if a person was missin’ Jesus, they should call you. That’s how I knew you were good Christian people, willin’ to help folks. I figured that maybe you would help me, too. So I stopped at the grocery store tonight and I called your misses. I’m not missin’ Jesus, mister, because I sure love the Lord. But I am missin’ heat. I have no money to fix that furnace.”
“Okay, Okay,” said father. “You’ve come to the right place. Now let’s see. You’ve got a little oil burner over there in the dining room. Shouldn’t be too hard to fix. Probably just a clogged flue. I’ll look it over, see what it needs.”
Mother came into the living room carrying a plate of cookies and warm milk. As she set the cups down on the coffee table, I noticed the figure of Baby Jesus lying in the center of the table. It was the only sign of Christmas in the house. The children stared wide-eyed with wonder at the plate of cookies my mother set before them.
Father finally got the oil burner working but said, “You need more oil. I’ll make a few calls tonight and get some oil. Yes sir, you came to the right place”, father grinned.
On the way home father did not complain about the cold weather and had barely set foot inside the door when he was on the phone. “Ed, hey, how are ya, Ed?”
“Yes, Merry Christmas to you, too. Say Ed, we have kind of an unusual situation here. I know you’ve got that pick-up truck. Do you still have some oil in that barrel on your truck? You do?”
By this time the rest of the family were pulling clothes out of their closets and toys off of their shelves. It was long after their bedtime when they were wrapping gifts. The pickup came. On it were chairs, three lamps, blankets and gifts. Even though it was 30 below, father let them ride along in the back of the truck. No one ever did call about the missing figure in the nativity set, but as I grow older I realize that it wasn’t a packing mistake at all.
Jesus saves, that’s what He does. (Source)
The Innkeeper by O.M. Keve
Yes, they came to my inn at Bethlehem, and how well I remember the couple; it seems but yesterday.
He was a manly sort of a man, the kind that would cause you to look again if you saw him once; kindly and dignified, with a long beard; a strong man with quiet manner. There was something that charmed me about the woman who was with him, and–well, I just can’t tell you– anyway, one could see that she might soon become a mother.
It rather worried me that I didn’t have a place for them, but so many had come for the registration, you know. Sanballat, rich merchant, had come down from Damascus; Thaddeus, one of my old customers, had come up from Gaza. A party from Hebron came just at nightfall, and, since I knew them all, I could not turn them away.
Joseph told me that he was from Nazareth, up in the hill country of Galilee. He thought, of course, he could have a place to stay. And, as he asked me, he looked toward Mary and knew that I would understand.
I did understand, and I tried to think which of the men I could ask to move and make place for the couple. But how could I ask these customers of mine to inconvenience themselves: After all, I did not know Joseph and Mary.
I said to myself, O well, somebody will look after them. I must not disturb the others, and it is a beautiful star-lit night. Here, I have it, finally I said to myself, we can make room for them in the manger, and some way they will get along.
I have wondered a lot about them since they have gone. He was a manly sort of man with his long beard and dignified look and quiet manners. And the woman, she was like a princess. I wish now, that I had said to the men in my inn, “We must make a place for this man and this woman from Galilee!”
But I didn’t, and I am sorry. After all, they might, have been people of consequence.
She should never have waited so long to tackle the Christmas shopping, Kimberley Little reminded herself as she shifted her bundles from one aching arm to the other. She hated shopping, hated having to brave the crowds, and sift through endless piles of merchandise. But there was only so much holiday gift-buying one could do through catalogues, and, of course, the children needed their annual photo taken with Santa Claus. So here she was, imprisoned in a slow-moving “Visit Santa” line, wondering if she might spend the entire holidays in this Albuquerque mall.
Of course, she had to admit she was never “up” at this time of year, no matter how smoothly things went. Her father had died tragically in a plane crash just a few days before Christmas when Kimberley was fourteen, and although many years had passed, she never faced December without feeling echoes of that familiar shock, sorrow and loneliness. As her faith matured, Kimberley had gotten involved in her church, singing in the choir, and teaching her young sons to pray. She didn’t doubt that her father was in heaven with Jesus, and she would see him again. But every year as Christmas approached, the same nagging question emerged: “This is all supposed to be so wonderful. So why isn’t it?”
Kimberley shifted packages again, and looked at her three young sons. Their moods seemed no cheerier than hers. One was demanding a ride on the train further down the mall. Another was hungry. “I hate Christmas!” muttered the eldest, his lip thrust out in frustration.
Kimberley felt guilty. “Moms have so much influence on the spirit of the family,” she says. “If we’re just a little bit cranky, everyone picks up on it.” She didn’t want to spoil this season for the children. They shouldn’t carry the same vague sadness that she did.
And yet… She glanced around at the other families in line. They were all like hers, she realized, the kids were irritable, tired, fighting with one another, the parents grimly Determined to Endure.
Why are we like this? Kimberley wondered. Where was the real Christmas, the spirit of love and peace, the joyful awareness that a Savior had come into the world? How did one cut through the confusion, the fatigue, the pressure, yes, even the sorrowful memories, to find it?
Suddenly, God nudged her. “It couldn’t have been anything else,” Kimberley says, “because all at once I felt a little tingle, as if something new was happening. And I realized that if I wanted to feel better about myself, I had to take the first step. I had to be brave.” But how?
Sing a carol… The suggestion was already in her heart. She had recently performed a solo in church. She knew how to sing. But this noisy shopping center was not church. “Oh, no, God, not me,” she told Him silently. “You remember how shy I am … People will stare.”
Bring Christmas to the mall. Sing.
Kimberley sighed. It was no use. She knew that Voice. And hadn’t she asked Him where Christmas was?
Softly she began to sing. “Silent night, holy night …” The couple in front of her, who had been filling out a photography order form, paused and turned around.
“All is calm, all is bright …” Kimberley reached for her youngest son and picked him up. What if they threw her out of the mall, for disturbing the peace?
You’re bringing the peace, the answer came. Sing.
The children behind her had stopped arguing. “Listen,” one whispered to the other. “That lady’s singing.”
The tips of Kimberley’s ears turned red. “Round yon virgin, mother and child …” she went on. Her sons would never speak to her again.
But…Was it her imagination, or did she hear another voice? And another? Yes, the couple in front of her was singing, their order form forgotten. Now the children behind her, and their parents, and the family next to them. Dazed, Kimberley realized that the entire section of the Santa Claus line had joined her. Even her own offspring.
It was true! Little risks could lead to wonderful things. And she was feeling better, her spirit soothed, her mind quieted. Maybe Christmas, and its eternal message, was simply as close as anyone allowed it to be.
Voices faded as the song ended. “Let’s do ‘Angels We Have Heard on High'” Kimberley suggested to the people around her. It was her eldest’s favorite carol, and her dad had always liked it too.
It was going to be a wonderful Christmas.
by Joan Wester Anderson
The Boy and His Box
Christmas is for love. It is for joy, for giving and sharing, for laughter, for reuniting with family and friends, for tinsel and brightly decorated packages. But mostly, Christmas is for love. I had not believed this until a small elf-like student with wide-eyed innocent eyes and soft rosy cheeks gave me a wondrous gift one Christmas.
Mark was an 11 year old orphan who lived with his aunt, a bitter middle aged woman greatly annoyed with the burden of caring for her dead sister’s son. She never failed to remind young Mark, if it hadn’t been for her generosity, he would be a vagrant, homeless waif. Still, with all the scolding and chilliness at home, he was a sweet and gentle child.
I had not noticed Mark particularly until he began staying after class each day (at the risk of arousing his aunt’s anger, I later found) to help me straighten up the room. We did this quietly and comfortably, not speaking much, but enjoying the solitude of that hour of the day. When we did talk, Mark spoke mostly of his mother. Though he was quite small when she died, he remembered a kind, gentle, loving woman, who always spent much time with him.
As Christmas drew near however, Mark failed to stay after school each day. I looked forward to his coming, and when the days passed and he continued to scamper hurriedly from the room after class, I stopped him one afternoon and asked why he no longer helped me in the room. I told him how I had missed him, and his large gray eyes lit up eagerly as he replied, “Did you really miss me?”
I explained how he had been my best helper. “I was making you a surprise,” he whispered confidentially. “It’s for Christmas.” With that, he became embarrassed and dashed from the room. He didn’t stay after school any more after that.
Finally came the last school day before Christmas. Mark crept slowly into the room late that afternoon with his hands concealing something behind his back. “I have your present,” he said timidly when I looked up. “I hope you like it.” He held out his hands, and there lying in his small palms was a tiny wooden box.
“Its beautiful, Mark. Is there something in it?” I asked opening the top to look inside. ”
“Oh you can’t see what’s in it,” He replied, “and you can’t touch it, or taste it or feel it, but mother always said it makes you feel good all the time, warm on cold nights, and safe when you’re all alone.”
I gazed into the empty box. “What is it Mark,” I asked gently, “that will make me feel so good?” “It’s love,” he whispered softly, “and mother always said it’s best when you give it away.” And he turned and quietly left the room.
So now I keep a small box crudely made of scraps of wood on the piano in my living room and only smile as inquiring friends raise quizzical eyebrows when I explain to them that there is love in it.
Yes, Christmas is for gaiety, mirth and song, for good and wondrous gifts. But mostly, Christmas is for love.
~ Unknown ~
The Boy On the Streetcar
It was just a few more days until Christmas in San Francisco, and the shopping downtown was starting to get to us. I remember crowds of people waiting impatiently for slow-moving buses and streetcars on those little cement islands in the middle of the street. Most of us were loaded down with packages, and it looked like many of us were beginning to wonder if all those countless friends and relatives actually deserved so many gifts in the first place. This was not the Christmas spirit I’d been raised with.
When I finally found myself virtually shoved up the steps of a jammed streetcar, the idea of standing there packed like a sardine the whole way home was almost more than I could take. What I would have given for a seat! I must have been in some kind of exhausted daze because as people gradually got off, it took me a while to notice that there was room to breathe again.
Then I saw something out of the corer of my eye. A small, dark-skinned boy, he couldn’t have been more than five or six, tugged on a woman’s sleeve and asked, “Would you like a seat?” He quietly led her to the closest free seat he could find. Then he set out to find another tired person. As soon as each rare, new seat became available, he would quickly move through the crowd in search of another burdened woman who desperately needed to rest her feet.
When I finally felt the tug on my own sleeve, I was absolutely dazzled by the beauty in this little boy’s eyes. He took my hand, saying, “Come with me,” and I think I’ll remember that smile as long as I live. As I happily placed my heavy load of packages on the floor, the little emissary of love immediately turned to help his next subject.
The people on the streetcar, as usual, had been studiously avoiding each other’s eyes, but now they began to exchange shy glances and smiles. A businessman offered a section of newspaper to the stranger next to him; three people stooped to return a gift that had tumbled to the floor. And now people were speaking to one another. That little boy had tangibly changed something, we all relaxed into a subtle feeling of warmth and actually enjoyed the trip through the final stops along the route.
I didn’t notice when the child got off. I looked up at one point and he was gone. When I reached my stop I practically floated off that streetcar, wishing the driver a happy holiday, noticing the sparkling Christmas lights on my street in a fresh, new way. Or maybe I was seeing them in an old way, with the same open wonder I felt when I was five or six. I thought, “So that’s what they mean by And a little child shall lead them….”
Written by Beverly M. Bartlett (source)
Christmas and My Pa
First read James 1:27: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
Pa never had much compassion for the lazy or those who squandered their means and then never had enough for the necessities. But for those who were genuinely in need, his heart was as big as all outdoors. It was from him that I learned the greatest joy in life comes from giving, not from receiving.
It was Christmas Eve 1881. I was fifteen years old and feeling like the world had caved in on me because there just hadn’t been enough money to buy me the rifle that I’d wanted for Christmas. We did the chores early that night for some reason. I just figured Pa wanted a little extra time so we could read in the Bible.
After supper, I took my boots off and stretched out in front of the fireplace and waited for Pa to get down the old book. To be honest, I wasn’t in much of a mood to read Scriptures. But Pa didn’t get the Bible, instead he bundled up again and went outside. I couldn’t figure it out because we had already done all the chores.
Soon Pa came back in. It was a cold clear night out and there was ice in his beard. “Come on, Matt,” he said. “Bundle up good, it’s cold out tonight.” I was really upset then. Not only wasn’t I getting the rifle for Christmas, now Pa was dragging me out in the cold, and for no earthly reason that I could see.
I knew Pa was not very patient at one dragging one’s feet when he’d told them to do something, so I got up, put my boots back on and bundled up. Ma gave me a mysterious smile as I opened the door to leave the house. Something was up.
Outside, I became even more dismayed. There in front of the house was the work team, already hitched to the big sled. Whatever it was we were going to do wasn’t going to be a short job. We never hitched up this sled unless we were going to haul a big load.
Pa was already up on the seat, reins in hand. I reluctantly climbed up beside him. The cold was already biting at me. I wasn’t happy. When I was on, Pa pulled the sled around the house and stopped in front of the woodshed. He got off and I followed. “I think we’ll put on the high sideboards,” he said. “Here, help me.” Whatever we were going to do would be a lot bigger with the high sideboards on.
After we had exchanged the sideboards, Pa went into the woodshed and came out with an armload of wood—the wood I’d spent all summer hauling down from the mountain, and then all Fall sawing into blocks and splitting. What was he doing?
Finally I asked. “Pa, what are you doing?”
You been by the Widow Jensen’s lately?” he asked. The Widow Jensen lived about two miles down the road. Her husband had died a year or so ago and left her with three children, the oldest being eight. I rode by just today,” Pa said. “Little Jake was out digging around in the woodpile trying to find a few chips. They’re out of wood, Matt.”
That was all he said and then he turned and went back into the woodshed for another armload of wood. I followed him. We loaded the sled so high that I began to wonder if the horses would be able to pull it. Finally, Pa called a halt to our loading, then we went to the smoke house and Pa took down a big ham and a side of bacon. He handed them to me and told me to put them in the sled and wait.
When he returned he was carrying a sack of flour over his right shoulder and a smaller sack of something in his left hand. “What’s in the little sack?” I asked. “Shoes. They’re out of shoes. Little Jakey just had gunny sacks wrapped around his feet when he was out in the woodpile this morning. I got the children a little candy, too. It just wouldn’t be Christmas without a little candy.”
We rode the two miles to Widow Jensen’s pretty much in silence. I tried to think through what Pa was doing. We didn’t have much by worldly standards. Of course, we did have a big woodpile, though most of what was left now was still in the form of logs that I would have to saw into blocks and split before we could use it. We also had meat and flour, so we could spare that, but I knew we didn’t have any money, so why was Pa buying them shoes and candy?
Really, why was he doing any of this? Widow Jensen had closer neighbors than us; it shouldn’t have been our concern.
We came in from the blind side of the Jensen house and unloaded the wood as quietly as possible, then we took the meat and flour and shoes to the door. We knocked. The door opened a crack and a timid voice said, “Who is it?” “Lucas Miles, Ma’am, and my son, Matt. Could we come in for a bit?”
Widow Jensen opened the door and let us in. She had a blanket wrapped around her shoulders. The children were wrapped in another and were sitting in front of the fireplace by a very small fire that hardly gave off any heat at all. Widow Jensen fumbled with a match and finally lit the lamp.
“We brought you a few things, Ma’am,” Pa said and set down the sack of flour. I put the meat on the table. Then Pa handed her the sack that had the shoes in it.
She opened it hesitantly and took the shoes out one pair at a time. There was a pair for her and one for each of the children—sturdy shoes, the best – shoes that would last. I watched her carefully. She bit her lower lip to keep it from trembling and then tears filled her eyes and started running down her cheeks. She looked up at Pa like she wanted to say something, but it wouldn’t come out.
“We brought a load of wood too, Ma’am,” Pa said. He turned to me and said, “Matt, go bring in enough to last awhile. Let’s get that fire up to size and heat this place up.”
I wasn’t the same person when I went back out to bring in the wood. I had a big lump in my throat and as much as I hate to admit it, there were tears in my eyes too.
In my mind I kept seeing those three kids huddled around the fireplace and their mother standing there with tears running down her cheeks with so much gratitude in her heart that she couldn’t speak. My heart swelled within me and a joy that I’d never known before filled my soul. I had given at Christmas many times before, but never when it had made so much difference. I could see we were literally saving the lives of these people.
I soon had the fire blazing and everyone’s spirits soared. The kids started giggling when Pa handed them each a piece of candy and Widow Jensen looked on with a smile that probably hadn’t crossed her face for a long time. She finally turned to us. “God bless you,” she said. “I know the Lord has sent you. The children and I have been praying that he would send one of his angels to spare us.”
In spite of myself, the lump returned to my throat and the tears welled up in my eyes again. I’d never thought of Pa in those exact terms before, but after Widow Jensen mentioned it I could see that it was probably true.
I was sure that a better man than Pa had never walked the earth. I started remembering all the times he had gone out of his way for Ma and me, and many others. The list seemed endless as I thought on it.
Pa insisted that everyone try on the shoes before we left. I was amazed when they all fit and I wondered how he had known what sizes to get. Then I guessed that if he was on an errand for the Lord that the Lord would make sure he got the right sizes.
Tears were running down Widow Jensen’s face again when we stood up to leave. Pa took each of the kids in his big arms and gave them a hug. They clung to him and didn’t want us to go. I could see that they missed their Pa, and I was glad that I still had mine.
At the door Pa turned to Widow Jensen and said, “The Mrs. wanted me to invite you and the children over for Christmas dinner tomorrow. The turkey will be more than the three of us can eat, and a man can get cantankerous if he has to eat turkey for too many meals. We’ll be by to get you about eleven. It’ll be nice to have some little ones around again. Matt, here, hasn’t been little for quite a spell.” Widow Jensen nodded and said, “Thank you, Brother Miles. I don’t have to say, “‘May the Lord bless you,’ I know for certain that He will.”
Out on the sled I felt a warmth that came from deep within and I didn’t even notice the cold. When we had gone a ways, Pa turned to me and said, “Matt, I want you to know something. Your ma and I have been tucking a little money away here and there all year so we could buy that rifle for you, but we didn’t have quite enough.
Then yesterday a man who owed me a little money from years back came by to make things square. Your ma and me were real excited, thinking that now we could get you that rifle, and I started into town this morning to do just that. But on the way I saw little Jake out scratching in their woodpile with his feet wrapped in those gunny sacks, and I knew what I had to do. Son, I spent the money for shoes and a little candy for those children. I hope you understand.”
I understood, and my eyes became wet with tears again. I understood very well, and I was so glad Pa had done it. Now the rifle seemed very low on my list of priorities. Pa had given me a lot more. He had given me the look on Widow Jensen’s face and the radiant smiles of her three children.
For the rest of my life, whenever I saw any of the Jensens, or split a block of wood, I remembered, and remembering brought back that same joy I felt riding home beside Pa that night. Pa had given me much more than a rifle that night, he had given me the best Christmas of my life.
With a Kindle, here are more stories that will make your new tradition richer. Check out A Treasury of Christmas Miracles: True Stories of God’s Presence Today by
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