“Deck the halls with boughs of holly!
Fa la la la la la la la la”
Christmas was in the air as people hurried along the streets for some last minute shopping. Walking by, hand in hand, they greeted each other spreading the season’s cheer. Every dark spot on the street was lit up with tiny lights that glowed. Everything reachable was decorated. A group young of carolers stood on one side of the street and sang their hearts out as people extended donations to the charity.
With dreary eyes, she looked on. Ah! Christmas… Another season to remind me that I have nothing. She groaned and shifted in her corner of the street that gave her a clear view of the revelry down the street. She looked on and saw families walk hand in hand; children tugging at their parents and pointing to things in the windows of the stores. She’d miss her family if only she could remember what they were like. Did she have a sibling? Was her father as caring and protective as that man over there? Who knew? From the moment she could remember, she had always been on the street. This was her home.
As she watched her home being transformed into one with lights and merriment, she couldn’t help but wish that she had all that they had, just so she could have Christmas too. “But I don’t have a house or a family like these people do”, she told herself. “So maybe Christmas isn’t for me.” Christmas has never been for me, she sobbed quietly as she laid her head on a lump next to her. Her sobs reduced to deep slumber as she curled her tiny body in her corner of the street. The revelers couldn’t see her. No one could. Her beautiful face was streaked with tears, but she was sound asleep.
A gentle tap on her shoulder wakes her up and as she looks up, she cannot believe her drowsy eyes. “Oh my! You are so beautiful! Are you an angel?” she gasps. The sweetest smile welcomes her compliment. “Were you crying, little one? What makes you so sad?” said the stranger, with so soothing a voice. Suddenly conscious of her bearing, the street resident wiped her face with the back of her hand and tidied herself as much as she could before answering. “Not at all. Christmas is a time for celebration. Why would I be sad?” The stranger looked on at her with eyes so kind. The little girl turned away in shame. “It is alright. You can tell me”, said voice. With a lump in her tiny throat, she responded, “I am sad because everyone is celebrating Christmas and I want to too. But I don’t think Christmas is for me.” She hung her head.
“And why do you think Christmas is not for you?”
“Because I don’t have anyone to gift anything to. Because I don’t have any money to buy those gifts.”
She waited for a response, but all she heard was a soft laugh. She looked up as she saw the most beautiful face in a smile kindest of all. The stranger then drew near the trembling girl and with the smile that warmed her heart, said, “You think Christmas is not for you because you don’t have gifts? Come let me show you the true meaning of Christmas.”
The stranger took her hand and let her down the street. The little one now noticed how deserted the street was. No one in sight, not even the carolers. They strode along until they came to a tiny shed at the end of the street. Here she saw what she’d never seen here before. A lady, a man and a baby in the shed. The lady held the baby while the man tried to make the two of them comfortable and keep them from the cold.
“This is how the real Christmas took place. So you see, Jesus was born in a manger not a 5 star hotel! He left all the comforts of heaven for you! God’s Son became a human for you! The greatest gift of Christmas is not from Santa or the family. The greatest gift is what Jesus already gave freely. Love! He loves you a lot, little one!”
The little eyes couldn’t hold it in any longer, “Really?” she cried. “So Christmas is for me too?” The stranger twirled her around and said, “Yes! Christmas is for you! Christmas is for everyone!”
Giggling, she stirred and rubbed her eyes as she found herself on her corner of the street, laying exactly where she had cried herself to sleep. It was a dream, she told herself. But what a wonderful dream!
She squealed with excitement and rushed onto the street where the revelers were shopping and singing and caroling. She skipped and she hopped to the carolers stop and sang her heart out as she wished everyone in her path. Nothing has stopped her since.
“We wish you a merry Christmas!
We wish you a merry Christmas!
We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year!”