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A little Christmas Story.

lalouisiane 2010/12/16 23:36:42
Related Topics: Dinner, Cold


This is
what Christmas is all about...




Better bundle up - the goose bumps will freeze you!! I think I need
to read
this every year at Christmas.





"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 was over I took my boots off and stretched out in front of
the
fireplace and waited for Pa to get down the old Bible. I was
still feeling
sorry for myself and, 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. I didn't worry about it long though, I was too busy wallowing
in
self-pity.

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. We'd already done all the chores, and I
couldn't
think of anything else that needed doing, especially not on a night
like
this. But 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 and put my boots
back on and
got my cap, coat, and mittens. Ma gave me a mysterious smile as I
opened
the door to leave the house. Something was up, but I didn't know what..





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, quick, little job. I could
tell. 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." The high sideboards! It had been
a bigger job than I
wanted to do with just the low sideboards on, but whatever it was
we were
going to do would be a lot bigger with the high side boards 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 said something. "Pa," I
asked, "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
before and left her with three children, the oldest being eight.
Sure, I'd
been by, but so what?



Yeah," I said, "Why?"



"I rode by just today," Pa said. "Little Jakey 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." I was the youngest.
My two brothers
and two sisters had all married and had moved away.



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 me 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 Jakey
out
scratching in the 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."







Don't be too busy today. Share this inspiring message. God
bless you!
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  • cs 2010/12/19 13:02:25
    cs
    +1
    GREAT STORY, THANK YOU
  • lalouis... cs 2010/12/22 00:22:05
    lalouisiane
    Glad you enjoyed it.
  • texasred 2010/12/18 05:21:13
    texasred
    +1
    This is what the Lord wants us to remember on Christmas. This and the fact that he sent his only son to save our souls. Thanks, Lalouisiane.
  • lalouis... texasred 2010/12/22 00:22:25
    lalouisiane
    +2
    You're so welcome. thank you for reading it.
  • texasred lalouis... 2010/12/22 04:10:56
    texasred
    +1
    Anyone that reads it is getting a great lesson in life and love.
  • lalouis... texasred 2010/12/22 18:55:11
    lalouisiane
    +1
    I hope so. I really enjoyed the story.
  • FencerCat 2010/12/18 04:49:47
    FencerCat
    +1
    What a nice story! Thanks for sharing.
  • lalouis... FencerCat 2010/12/22 00:22:40
    lalouisiane
    +2
    You're welcome. I'm glad you liked it.
  • Barefoot Peace and Love∞ijm... 2010/12/17 22:52:40
    Barefoot Peace and Love∞ijm♥☮♥∞
    +1
    chills is right.... beautiful story thank you...
    Peace and Love♥
    chills beautiful story peace love merry christmas love
  • lalouis... Barefoo... 2010/12/22 00:22:51
    lalouisiane
    +1
    Thank you.
  • Barefoo... lalouis... 2010/12/22 01:16:57
    Barefoot Peace and Love∞ijm♥☮♥∞
    +1
    your welcome
    Your very welcome♥
  • lalouis... Barefoo... 2010/12/22 18:55:29
    lalouisiane
    +1
    Oh, how pretty!!! Thank you!!!
  • Barefoo... lalouis... 2010/12/29 14:41:31
    Barefoot Peace and Love∞ijm♥☮♥∞
    +1
    thank you;)
    I hope you had a great Christmas honey♥
  • lalouis... Barefoo... 2010/12/30 16:33:50
    lalouisiane
    +1
    I did thanks. And I trust you also had a great Christmas.
  • Barefoo... lalouis... 2011/01/02 22:00:48
    Barefoot Peace and Love∞ijm♥☮♥∞
    +1
    yes, ma'am....;)
  • dlsofsetx 2010/12/17 19:27:30
    dlsofsetx
    +1
    Nice story.
  • lalouis... dlsofsetx 2010/12/22 00:23:00
    lalouisiane
    Thank you.
  • Harley Quinn 2010/12/17 18:24:55
    Harley Quinn
    +1
    That was lovely. It's nice seeing a reminder of what Christmas is really about.
  • lalouis... Harley ... 2010/12/17 18:32:58
    lalouisiane
    +1
    Glad you liked it.
  • garyt212 2010/12/17 18:12:35
    garyt212
    +1
    Wonderful story. Thanks for sharing!
  • lalouis... garyt212 2010/12/17 18:33:13
    lalouisiane
    +2
    Hope it brightens your holiday season.
  • Patriot Unit 2010/12/17 16:08:25
    Patriot Unit
    +1
    Well, there are many out there that would not understand what was written here. I think it is great, thanks for sharing.
  • lalouis... Patriot... 2010/12/17 16:15:16
    lalouisiane
    +1
    I'm glad you enjoyed it.
  • Monika 2010/12/17 15:36:44
    Monika
    +1
    What a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing it.
  • lalouis... Monika 2010/12/17 16:15:26
    lalouisiane
    +1
    You're welcome.
  • betz 2010/12/17 11:43:30
    betz
    +3
    Really beautiful lalouisiane. I often say that if every person in this country took one person under their wing what a wonderful place this would be. Hopefully your story will inspire others to do just that. Again, thanks.
  • lalouis... betz 2010/12/17 15:30:30
    lalouisiane
    +1
    Thanks Betz. I remember my mother telling me that growing up in the depression, they would be so excited if they got an orange or an apple for Christmas.

    A piece of hard candy was just... over the top for them!!

    And I remember my granddaddy saying that every year, all the children got a new pair of shoes. He was lucky to do that, it cost him a LOT of hard work.

    My mother also told me that if the country store had not extended them credit, some years they probably would have starved.

    Later in life, after all the family harvested everything out of Granddaddy's fields, he would open them up to anybody. People could come and pick their own stuff and have it. He never sold it.

    They had 6 children. All 3 years apart.

    And when they graduated from high school, Granddaddy sold a cow to buy each of them a graduation ring.
  • betz lalouis... 2010/12/17 15:48:16
    betz
    +2
    Wow! And I bet you give back to others don't you? I was fortunate in that my father was in management of a large fortune 500 company. We had everything we wanted and more but it was also instilled into all 4 of us the art of volunteering and giving back. My 3 siblings and I are all avid volunteers. I thank my dear mother and father for teaching us to think of others in any way that we can.
  • lalouis... betz 2010/12/17 16:23:05
    lalouisiane
    +1
    My mother has ALWAYS loved to buy gifts for children at Christmas. I remember her doing that all through my youth.

    We were in a toy store around Christmas one year and there were some young parents there with little kids. The little boy wanted a tricycle and the girl wanted a doll. The parents were whispering to each other about the cost and how they could not afford it.

    My mother went up to the register and paid for the doll and the tricycle and told the lady at the register that it was for the couple, she pointed them out. Then we left. I always imagined their surprise when they were informed that a new tricycle and doll had been purchased for their children. They never had any idea she did it.

    Most people didn't. She LOVED doing things like that.

    One year right before Christmas, my stepfather died. I moved her in with me for the holidays because I did not want her to be alone. This was the second great husband that she had buried. They both died from cancer.

    She wanted to give a bicycle and a doll to some children but we didn't know any. I called my friend who worked in Family Services and said, we need a boy and a girl who aren't going to get anything.

    She found the kids and we took her the bicycle and the doll.

    She told me later that when they took the bicycle to the...

    My mother has ALWAYS loved to buy gifts for children at Christmas. I remember her doing that all through my youth.

    We were in a toy store around Christmas one year and there were some young parents there with little kids. The little boy wanted a tricycle and the girl wanted a doll. The parents were whispering to each other about the cost and how they could not afford it.

    My mother went up to the register and paid for the doll and the tricycle and told the lady at the register that it was for the couple, she pointed them out. Then we left. I always imagined their surprise when they were informed that a new tricycle and doll had been purchased for their children. They never had any idea she did it.

    Most people didn't. She LOVED doing things like that.

    One year right before Christmas, my stepfather died. I moved her in with me for the holidays because I did not want her to be alone. This was the second great husband that she had buried. They both died from cancer.

    She wanted to give a bicycle and a doll to some children but we didn't know any. I called my friend who worked in Family Services and said, we need a boy and a girl who aren't going to get anything.

    She found the kids and we took her the bicycle and the doll.

    She told me later that when they took the bicycle to the home of the little boy, his older brother told him that he knew God would send a bicycle because he had prayed for it.

    I think she enjoyed doing stuff like that so much because for her most years at Christmas, her gift was an orange or an apple.
    (more)
  • betz lalouis... 2010/12/17 16:34:47
    betz
    +2
    You have such heartwarming stories, la. That's just one more reason why I love you. Your mother sounds like a lovely lady with a heart of gold. God bless all of you my friend.
  • lalouis... betz 2010/12/17 16:36:32
    lalouisiane
    +2
    And you had GREAT parents!!! You are fortunate that you had them.

    We have a lot to be thankful for don't we?
  • betz lalouis... 2010/12/17 16:41:04
    betz
    +2
    We were fortunate weren't we? Parents set the tone for the children we all know that.
  • lalouis... betz 2010/12/17 16:44:04
    lalouisiane
    +2
    Yes they do. I don't feel like I was as good a parent to my children and my parents were to me.

    However, I have GREAT kids!!!

    Family is what it's all about.
  • betz lalouis... 2010/12/17 16:49:23
    betz
    +2
    Don't underestimate yourself. I'm sure you were and are a great parent since you are a great person. :)
  • lalouis... betz 2010/12/17 17:05:35
    lalouisiane
    +2
    I don't think I did nearly as good a job as my parents did.

    With kids, it's just a chance.

    I've seen kids with every advantage grow up to be bums.

    I've seen kids with absolutely grow up and really make something of themselves.

    Having great parents is wonderful but not all kids seem to respond to that.

    I sure am thankful for mine though.
  • ray 2010/12/17 07:24:45
    ray
    +3
    Therein lies the spirit of Christmas. Thank you
  • lalouis... ray 2010/12/17 15:30:44
    lalouisiane
    +2
    Thank you for reading it.
  • sglmom 2010/12/17 07:04:45
    sglmom
    +5
    THANK you for sharing such a WONDERFUL Reminder ...
  • lalouis... sglmom 2010/12/17 15:30:54
    lalouisiane
    +1
    Glad you enjoyed it.
  • Faith † 2010/12/17 06:14:09 (edited)
    Faith †
    +4
    awww, that was Beautiful. thank you for shareing.
    awww beautiful shareing

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