Merry Almost-Christmas one and all!
At the annual Christmas tea held at our church, a lady we know shared her heartwarming story about the Christmas when she was seven years old. With her permission we have written a short story based on her tale. We hope you will enjoy it and be as inspired as we were by this touching tale!
A Child’s Hope
Sarah Newton sat in a chair in the living room of their trailer, looking at an old picture book about a little bear and the little girl who he belonged to. It was her favorite book and had been read so much that the cover had come off, but her mother had taped it back on with care. Sarah had asked Santa for a teddy bear like the one in the book, and with each day her anticipation grew for Christmas Day when she would surely find it under the tree, because Santa never let people down.
This was a hard year for the Newtons. Mrs. Newton had just divorced her husband, and she was in deep financial trouble. It was difficult enough paying the bills without Christmas to worry about. She was filled with a deep ache every time she thought about Sarah and the look she would have on her face when she peeked under the tree and found no presents. That was until she received a call from her friend Alice Delancey, saying that she and her husband Mark had decided to come for Christmas and would bring gifts and dinner. They were to arrive at the airport at 7:27 pm on the 23rd.
Weeks had passed and the 23rd finally arrived. Mrs. Newton had found herself humming carols to herself while she swept the floor and straightened the pictures. For the first time in months she felt at peace and could take a deep breath. Everything was going to be okay. The phone began to ring.
“Mrs. Newton, this is Grace.” Grace was the Delancey’s 23-year-old daughter.
“Hello, Grace. Is everything alright?” Mrs. Newton could hear the distress in Graces voice.
“My parents plane was caught in a storm about an hour ago and the plane crashed. My mom is in a coma.” She heard the young woman’s voice crack on the other end.
Mrs. Newton was speechless. She was very sad that her friends had been hurt, but right now she needed to worry about Sarah. That aching feeling came back, only ten times worse. She shuddered, trying to shake the feeling away. Then she looked over at Sarah, who was sitting in the living room quietly looking at a book. Her eyes filled with tears and she had to look away.
“I…I’m so sorry. Is there anything I can do?” she finally muttered.
“She is stable and we are with her. My dad is going through an x-ray to see if anything is seriously broken. Things don’t look fatal.”
“I hope they get well quickly, and my thoughts are with them. Take care. Goodbye.”
What am I going to do? She thought to herself. Sarah will be so disappointed. Sometimes the best way is just to tell everything straight the way it is. She finally decided. Sarah is a big girl. She will understand.
“Sarah, I need to tell you something.” She began, trying not to cry.
Sarah looked up at her with big, innocent eyes. “Yeah, mom?”
“Sarah, do you remember when I told you Santa Claus was real and he always brings presents?”
“Of course, Mommy.” Sarah answered with childlike trust.
“I was wrong. Santa does not exist, and you need to know that. You’re seven years old, it’s time you grew up. There will be no presents under that tree tomorrow morning.”
“But Mom, you said Santa would come! You said he always comes!”
“I don’t believe you! You are lying!” Sarah’s eyes filled with tears. She threw down the book and ran to her room.
Mrs. Newton slowly walked to the kitchen. She went through the cupboards and the refrigerator. She found a box of instant mashed potatoes and a few meatballs in a bag at the back of the freezer. Those would have to be enough for Christmas dinner. What was she going to do? She imagined Sarah’s shock the next morning when she awoke to find not a single gift under the tree. Mrs. Newton thought about Sarah’s denial and the hurt look in her eyes when she told her there would be no gifts. She collapsed into a chair and sobbed.
The next morning, Mrs. Newton awoke to Sarah jumping on her bed.
“Mom, wake up! Wake up! It’s Christmas morning, I wanna go see if Santa brought me anything!”
Mrs. Newton could hardly stand to watch the look of hope and excitement in Sarah’s eyes. In just a few minutes that little girl’s hopes would all be crushed, perhaps permanently.
“Sweetheart, I told you, Santa is not coming. There is no Santa.”
“There has to be a Santa, Mom! Who else would leave gifts for me every Christmas?”
With that, Sarah bounded off the bed and into the living room. There under the tree that her grandparents had brought over for them, was a small baby doll, with pink pajamas and eyes that blinked, and a teddy bear just like the one she had wanted. In the stocking that Sarah had insisted they put up, despite Mrs. Newton’s explanation that there would be no presents, was candy, an orange, and a note. The note said, To Sarah with love, Santa. Sarah ran to her mother, and handed her the note.
“See!” She declared, “I told you there was a Santa Claus, and he always comes!”
Mrs. Newton read the note and began to weep. Where had these blessings come from?
“I don’t know who did this for us, honey. But I’m so thankful you got your toys.”
“Merry Christmas, Mommy. I love you.” Sarah said, as she wrapped her arm around her mother’s neck.
They never discovered who left those presents that Christmas morning. Was it a jolly old man in a red suit? Probably not, but someone did. Someone very special. Through the years Sarah looked back on that Christmas and was filled with hope. Eventually that hope led her to open her heart to the promise of everlasting life that trusting in Jesus as your savior provides. When Sarah was growing up she didn’t know about the true meaning of Christmas. To her, Christmas was about Santa Claus and presents, but God used her belief in Santa to lead her to His Son!
Merry Christmas! ~Savy and Ally