The True Meaning of Christmas

A Short Story by Anne T. Six

Mrs. Beaker was a single mother with a child named Amy. Mr. Beaker had passed away after Amy was born. They lived in an old apartment building in the low rent area of town.

Amy was six years old and in first grade. The kids in school were excited that Santa Claus would be coming soon. When Amy talked with Mom about Santa coming, Mom's eyes filled with tears when she told her that Santa usually didn't come to that part of town, because there were so many poor kids he needed to see.

At school the teacher helped each child to write a letter to Santa. In her letter Amy asked Santa to bring a baby doll so she could give it to Suzy, because her baby brother went to heaven and Suzy and her Mommy were sad.

In the woods behind her house Amy and her mommy found a tiny tree. They cut it down and brought it into the house. Once inside, they made popcorn, then strung popcorn garland all over the tree. One of the neighbors had given them some old magazines and they cut out pictures of Christmas ornaments and hung them on the tree also. They couldn't afford to buy lights but Mom moved one of the lamps close to the tree and it was beautiful.

Some people from church had brought them a basket of food, and Mommy was going to make a birthday cake for the baby Jesus, and a small one to take to Mr. James. Mr. James lived in the apartment next door. He lived alone and said he couldn't go out.

At 4 o'clock Amy and her mommy went to Mass. Amy loved the music and all the wonderful lights but most of all after Mass she would be able to go up to the altar and see the baby Jesus in the stable.

The church was almost empty when Amy went up to the stable. Kneeling down she said, “Hello baby Jesus, my name is Amy and tonight I'm going to your birthday party. Could you please ask Santa to bring me a baby doll? Suzy's baby brother is with you now, but Suzy and her Mommy are sad. Her Mommy said, they can't have a tree or anything this year and she cries all the time. I think if Suzy had a baby doll maybe that would help her when she misses her brother. Thank you Jesus, for giving us a wonderful tree and stuff to make your birthday cake.”

She was so happy because on Christmas Eve they would have a party for baby Jesus, sing happy birthday and drink hot chocolate. Then they would go next door to Mr. James's apartment, bring him his cake and sing more Christmas songs.

While they were there, Mr. James had Amy sit on his lap as he read The Night Before Christmas. He gave her a tiny package wrapped in newspaper and said she could open it. Inside was a bright new quarter.

When they got home it was after nine o'clock so Mom sent Amy off to bed. Amy had wonderful dreams of the little baby in the stable with the animals.

Amy was asleep when there was a knock at the door. Looking out the peep hole, Amy's Mom said, “Yes, who is it?” It was a familiar voice, one of the church ladies that helped serve morning Mass.

“Merry Christmas Marion, I have someone with me who would like to talk with you.” Opening the door, Mary said, “Can we come in for a minute.”

“Please come in.”

Behind her was a tall man with gray and white hair and his arms were filled with presents. “This is Mr. Arthur Anderson, he's come a long way to find you.”

Marion said, “Please sit down, could I offer you something to drink or a piece of birthday cake?”

“No, thank you.” Mr. Anderson put out his hand and said, “It's so wonderful to finally meet you. I know you might not remember this, but it was the first Christmas after your husband passed on. Your daughter was just a few months old. You went Christmas Eve, to visit a Mrs. Wesley. Her husband was very ill, and you brought a little cake and sang happy birthday to Jesus and carols.”

“I do remember, Mrs. Wesley gave me some eggnog and gave me a winter coat right from her closet. I didn't want to take it, but she said it would be like she had Christmas, if she was able to give a gift.”

“Mrs. Wesley was my grandmother, and she always said it was her best Christmas. Granddad passed on that Christmas day and she said it was like God had given them the gift of the Christ child when you and your baby came to visit.”

“When I finally found out who you were, I came here to your apartment, but you had already gone to church. So, I went there and heard Amy talking at the stable. Then, I asked Mary if she knew you and she helped me to get a few things and we came here.”

“Here are a few gifts for under the tree, two are baby dolls one for Suzy and one for Amy. This gift, I would like you to open now and we will help you put them on the tree.” It was a set of twinkle tree lights with a white star for the top of the tree.

They strung the lights, sat on the couch and looked and the beautiful lighted tree.

“Now there is one more present for you to open.” It was wrapped in beautiful gold paper with a huge gold bow. On the card it said, to Marion who brought me the gift of the Christ child, Mrs. Wesley. Inside was a lot of paper, Marion looked up puzzled?

Mr. Anderson leaned forward and took her hand and said, “Let me explain, there is a little five room house over by your church; it has the white picket fence with the rose garden.”

“Yes, I know which one you're talking about.”

“Well my grandmother had rented out the property for years and had it written in her will that if the last renters passed on, the house was to be a gift to you. In the box you will find the deed in your name and the paid up mortgage papers. She has made arrangements that all the taxes, utilities, insurances etc., would to be paid by her estate for the next two years.”

“There is one more thing; under the papers is a note from Gram.” Tears were now running down Marion's face. Mr. Anderson opens the letter for her.

“Could you please read it for me?” she said.

“Dear Marion, I know your first thought is, I can't accept this; but this is really a selfish gift. I know you will use this little house as a gift to bring the Christ child to others at Christmas. I will be blessed as you do that. Enclosed is $5000.00 for any bills you might need to pay or to get some things for your new home. May God bless you always, as you have blessed us.”

Christmas Morning, Amy woke up and smelled bacon. Rubbing her eyes to wake up, she walks into the living room. She yells. “Mommy! Mommy! come quick.”

Mother comes into the room, wiping her hands on her apron. Look at the lights and the star aren't they beautiful? Mommy said, “Look there is something under the tree.”

Amy's eyes danced with excitement. She opens the gift with her name on it and sees a beautiful baby doll. Turning to mother Amy says, “Baby Jesus heard me, now I can give this to Suzy.”

Mother said, “Look at the other box. See, it says for Suzy. This one is for you.”

“Mommy, what about the poor kids?”

“It's ok Amy, God has other friends who will bring the Christ child to them for Christmas. I'll bet he's taking to them right now!”

Published on  February 25th, 2020