A Child’s Christmas

The boy in 3rd Grade.

The year was 1929.  A little 8 year old boy woke up on Christmas morning, and he went downstairs to see what had been left for him.  He did not find anything.  There were no gifts.  Not even one. No stocking was hung.  No card on a table.  No book.  No toy truck.  Not so much as a candy cane or even a piece of fruit.  There was nothing.  Nothing at all.

It had been a rough year.  The little boy’s mother had died seven months earlier, and he lived with his father.  Did the boy’s father not have any money?  Was his father broke?  Or was his father just so heartbroken he wasn’t able to rise to the task of providing something for his young son on Christmas morning.  

We just don’t know.  But what we do know was that it had to have been a dark time for that little boy and his father.

That little boy was my dad.  And he told me this story at some point when I was older.  He told me this story only once; he never repeated it. Nobody else in my family was around at the time he told me.  While I am sure he must have told my mom, I don’t know if he shared this story with others.  

When he told me the story, I didn’t quite know how to react.  It was so sad.  I may have asked him what he did when it happened.  I do remember my dad saying, “I never said a word about it to my dad, and he never said a word about it to me either.”   

The way my dad spoke, this happened only once.  Using my library Ancestry resource, I pieced together that my dad’s father remarried a year and a half after his first wife (my dad’s mom) died.  So, 1929 would have been the year this happened; this was the year his father would have been alone and grieving.

It’s not all sad as my dad went on and lived a good life.  He married my mom, raised six children, and we had many happy Christmases.  And I’d have to say that one of my dad’s best qualities was that he was a very generous man.  But it seems to me though, the fact that he told me this story when he was a grown man, shows me that the little hurt boy from that Christmas morning in 1929 was still alive in him and likely would be the rest of his life.

I can’t change what happened to my dad.  I can’t erase that dark time in the past or change how sad it makes me when I think about it more than ninety years later.  But I can lighten another’s heart by reaching out to someone who could use a little giving.  This year, I am making a donation to Clark Howard’s program to provide toys for children in foster care.  I can’t fix the world, but I can do something, so that a little child does not wake up on Christmas morning without a gift, without knowing that somebody, somewhere cares about him or her.  

I’m not asking you to give to this particular charity.  Of course, if you do, that is great.  What I am asking is that you do something to bring love’s light to someone in need.  Maybe it’s a smile, a conversation, a listening ear, a baked good, a surprise gift, a visit.  Whatever way you are inspired.  This is a way we can shine a light on the darkness, love one another, and be Christ for others.  Please stay safe, and Merry Christmas to you! 

Shared by Betty.

6 responses to “A Child’s Christmas”

  1. This real life story is such an example of how sorrow remembered can later be used to create joy for others. Thank you, Betty, you have shown how in small ways Advent and its promise can be passed on.

  2. I am so touched by your story, Betty. There will be many children and families whose Christmas will
    be difficult due to the pandemic. Will do my part to brighten someone’s holiday.
    Merry Christmas to you and to all!

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