“ONCE UPON A TIME”
Once upon a time there was a family of six: Mom, Dad, two boys and two girls. Early one autumn the father was stricken with a back ailment and was unable to continue working. The mother went to work in a laundry. Somehow the family made it. As Christmas approached the parents sat down with their family for a talk. This Christmas would not be like those in the past. There would be no stockings hanging, no toys, and no gifts! The children accepted what had to be.
The two girls were 10 & 12. Walking to and from school each day, they passed a toy store. In the window of a store they passed each day, was a doll that especially attracted the younger girl’s attention. She realized that there would be nothing under the tree this year, but she still dreamed of the doll and stopped to gaze at it twice each day.
Two days before Christmas a letter arrived in the mail. It was a Christmas Eve invitation to the nearby Salvation Army center. It announced a special surprise for children. Dad took the family to the Center, and there was a wrapped package for each of the children. The ten year old remembered particularly the pretty Salvation Army lady who had presented her gift.
The ride home was filled with a great deal of excitement and anticipation. What if the lady had known and had given her the doll in the window? Listening to his daughter’s naïve expectations, the father ached inside. How he wished he could spare her the pain of growing up. After a long sleepless night, and with dawn fast approaching, the little girl rushed downstairs to the Christmas tree… and she opened her gift… and it was a doll… the doll from the store window! This is the story retold by Mrs. Major James Tanner of the Salvation Army.
To those who ask why she so enjoys the gift of giving, she relates this story. Salvation Army
Corps Officer Tanner was that little girl. She joined the Salvation Army and each Christmas, by giving; she’s reliving the joy… of receiving that doll.
As yet another Christmas approaches we need to be mindful of touching the hearts and lives of others. We never know when an act of kindness or love might move someone to serve the Lord with their hearts and lives.