too long ago, a little girl who lived down the street
came down to "help" us do our outside Christmas
decorating (we all know how kids are fascinated by
Christmas decorating). Considering she was only six years
old, she was very creative in her suggestions. My
daughter and I were arranging silk poinsettias around the
outside Nativity set, and our visitor was very
child always reminded me of an abandoned waif. Nobody in
her family ever seemed to have any time for her. She
wandered around alone quite frequently. When she visited
us, she stayed as long as possible. It was rare when
anyone called for her but the time always came when she
had to go home. We never allowed her to walk home in the
The sun sunk
below the horizon and again nobody called for her. The
weather had been bright and sunny but the temperatures
were dropping. She was cold this time because she not
dressed well for the weather, but she didn't complain.
plopped down into the grass, kneeling and watching my
daughter and me. I noticed she was shivering. I asked my
son to run inside and get her a coat, wondering within
myself at the same time, "What can her family be
momentarily suspended as I thought of all the children
who were not lovingly cared for. And I was sad, thinking
of my little baby, who I loved so tenderly, whom I miss
so much, and who left us too soon. I wanted to scoop this
little girl up and take her into my home.
suddenly the little darling asked me, "Why
do you always have the Baby Jesus at your house at
Christmas time? You had Him last year and the year before
that. And I think the year before that..."
solemn way little children have, she asked
always have Jesus at your house, don't
And finally, pointing to the Infant Jesus in our outside
Nativity set, she said, "And
you always have Him at Christmas."
because Christmas is Jesus' birthday. I think that's a
nice way to remember His birthday, don't
Like all innocent souls, she accepted that without a
thought about what she had said.
girl's visit and her very serious inquiry was a reminder
for me - a mom with five living children and one in
heaven, who often feels overwhelmed and yes, even a bit
too sad when I miss my son, my father, my sister, my
grandparents - that Jesus is the reason for the season.
He is always the reason for our hope - in this life and
one doesn't know it, but she gave me a Christmas gift.
She helped me remember that Jesus is at our house - day
after day and year after year after year. She reminded me
that Jesus comes to us in ways we never expect, but
always in humble ways - like
a little child shivering in the cold.
this shall be a sign unto you:
shall find the infant
in swaddling clothes
laid in a manger
Jesus at My
the December 1998
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