For our holiday greeting, we want to share a true Christmas story that was told to me. It’s about a single mom living with her three-year-old daughter in a small, public housing apartment.
It was Christmas Eve, far past midnight, and the mom had stopped crying for the time being. Pouring another cup of muddy coffee, she cursed herself, her shortfallings, the ugly stump of a Christmas tree and even Christmas itself.
In addition to the malnourished tree, all she’d been able to afford for the child were a jump rope, two hair barrettes and a coloring book. The trifling gifts fell far short of the wonders in the glittering, downtown store windows that consumed the daydreams of hopeful children. At least there was a large box from the grandparents. The taffeta dress and dolly identically outfitted like a miniature twin would certainly make the child giggle and dance around the living room on the worn linoleum floor.
If they could just skip Christmas. If they might just sleep through the day, maybe the mom could avoid the humiliation of their poverty.
But the sun rose despite her pleadings, and then so did the little girl. The mom braced herself for the child’s disappointment as she heard the little, pudgy feet skampr down the short hall. The child ran into the living room, stopping so fast in front of the tree that she nearly toppled into it.
Her face glowed. Her dark eyes were wide with amazement at the bounty that she perceived in front of her. She exclaimed with exultation, “Happy Birthday, baby Jesus! Happy Birthday!” The true spirit of Christmas often lies in the innocent heart of a child.
May your holidays contain the joy and wonderment of a
tiny child and may the New Year bring health, happiness
and the fulfillment of all your needs.