A Christmas Blessing for Children Who Aren't so Fortunate
It is a cold Christmas day in a small village in southwest Virginia in a log house that stands miles off a rural road up in the mountains where a family of six lives. They are poor and many days they only have soup made from deer meat to eat and old bread for dipping. Dad has been out of work for a long period of time and there isn't any jobs to be found in the surrounding areas.
Dad only has a grade-school education and he cannot get a job doing anything but a laborer job. Some of the merchants hire him to do odd jobs for them because they know he has a family to feed and a home to take care of. If he is lucky, he may get a day or two every other week and he's thankful for that too. There are lots of people in this area in the same situation we are in.
Dad had to work hard to build the small log cabin we live in and he is proud that he built it with his own hands. Times have always been lean for our family because Dad's income isn't that good. Dad wasn't a fortunate child who had a chance for a good education but he stands firm that his children will have at least a high-school education or better if they can.
Our family has never had much but we've had plently of love, understanding, and teachings taught to us in that log cabin. Dad and Mother taught us how to survive on what we actually needed to make it in life and nothing more or fancy.
Mother took in washings, ironings, and other odd jobs to help out the money situation in our home. She would can lots of vegetables, other foods, and bake all of her breads and cakes for us too. She was a caring woman who had a lot of love in her heart for her family. She often toiled for hours to make a little extra income to give to Dad to help support the family.
Snowflakes are spitting through the air like a giant mouth spewing it out. Here it is Christmas and we have a dream of getting gifts for the occasion but times are leaner than they've ever been for our family, and in my heart, I know there'll be "no" gifts this year.
I gather the children together and we decide to walk through the woods in hopes of running into Santa Claus and his reindeers. There is an excitement in the air and little Tommy looks like a roly-poly because he is dressed from head to toe in warm clothing. All that can be seen is his big blue eyes and his tiny face grinning at us.
I've had a feeling we won't be getting anything for Christmas this year because money has been too scarce. We've been lucky to have enough to eat much less want toys to play with. I notice the snowflakes are hitting our faces and covering our clothes as we walk deeper into the woods.
I'm whispering prayers that we'll have a joyeous day like we'll never forget as we make our way to an open area to sit and wait for Santa.
I have told the children this trip would be our Christmas surprise because none of us are going to say a thing to Mother and Dad if we don't get a gift for Christmas. I explain to them that they don't have the money this year to spend for toys and I know they're feeling bad about it too.
I'm worn out from toting little Tommy on my back for the entire trip as we approach the snow blanketed open area. There in the middle of the area stands a beautiful pine tree covered in snow. A light from the sky peeps through the trees to keep a watchful eye on us and to warn us when it is time to go home before dark catches us.
The snow is glistening and it looks like a shining winter wonderland of beauty. The snow has covered everything and the sight is peaceful and calm like there's joy in the air.
We sit as an audience begins to grow as two rabbits slowly hops into our arena, next strolls in a momma deer and her fawn, a raccoon wabbles in to sit with its paws over its eyes and every now and then it'll peep at us, the squirrels being to jump from branch to branch to chirp in the trees above us, and of course, other animals come to see what's happening too.
I gather up red berries and holly to decorate the tree. The light shining from above gleams on the tree highlighting the red berries and the green holly. The children scream, "Look, look sister, our Christmas tree has lights on it; sister this is the most beautiful tree we've ever had. Isn't it, isn't it sister?"
I start to sing all the Christmas carols I know and the children begin to sing along with me. The sounds of the music is echoing throughout the woods to sound like angels singing. I notice the animals are making noises to blend in with our voices and it is like a magnificent band playing.
The animals begin to circle the tree as I grab hold of a child's hand to follow the animals marching around the Christmas tree. The sight is unbelievable as the light shimmers through the trees to lighten our way.
We're all dancing to the music as the rabbits hop, the deer prance, the raccoons stick their heads through the Christmas tree branches to look like eye ornaments, and the squirrels flip their busy tails like gigantic fans.
It's an amazing picture to see and the children are clapping and singing as loudly as they can. Little Tommy's nose is as red as Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer's nose and we all laugh and begin to sing, "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer had a very shining nose."
We sing and dance around the Christmas tree when I see the light giving me a warning we must leave soon to get home before dark, and I begin to sing Away in the Manger and all the creatures start to disburse too.
The children see the light too, and they say to me, "This is the greatest Christmas gift we've ever gotten. It's like the story about Jesus` birth long ago, it was a plain setting and there were only a few gifts too, but God sent us the greatest gift ever given before, 'The birth of Jesus Christ.' "
We all continue to sing Away in the Manger the remaining way through the woods home, and when we get home Mother and Dad has a brisk fire in the fireplace and they surprise us with hot cocoa, marshmallows, fruit, and popcorn balls. This is the greatest gift ever as Dad opens the Bible to read us the story of the birth of Jesus.
The sole writer of this short story is Barbara Kasey Smith - copyright 2012 - do not use without prior permission.
Tags: Creative Writing , Short Story , Christmas , A Surprise
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.