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Author Topic: Christmas story  (Read 796 times)
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« on: December 20, 2004, 01:55:44 AM »

    Warning long, but I think that you will enjoy it.  My granny sent it to me.  Grin                      

          " Christmas Story "

This is a really nice story....
Pa never had such 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 sideboards 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 thenarmload 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,tears 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.

Romans 10:9  "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth thy Lord Jesus and believe in thy heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."

Jesus is our first, last and only hope.  Without Him we would be nothing.
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« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2004, 01:56:03 AM »

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.

Audio Bible Online

Blue Letter Bible

Written By Bernadette<Honeywolf1>

When you are "Down"to nothing
... God is "Up" to something

Romans 10:9  "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth thy Lord Jesus and believe in thy heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."

Jesus is our first, last and only hope.  Without Him we would be nothing.
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