Now that we are less than two weeks away from Christmas, I thought that I would share some Christmas stories with you. I think the world needs more stories about the spirit of Christmas. The first story was written by Rian B. Anderson and is titled “A Christmas Prayer – Christmas Eve 1881.”
It was Christmas Eve 1881. I was fifteen years old and feeling like the world had caved in on me because there 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 the scriptures.
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. “Come on, Matt,” he said. “Bundle up good, it’s cold out tonight.” 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. 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. 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. Her husband had died a year or so before and left her with three children, the oldest being eight. “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. 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; we went to the smoke house and Pa took down a big ham and a side of bacon, and sent me for a sack of flour. I asked “What’s in the little sack?” that Pa was carrying. He said 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, just for Christmas.” 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 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.”
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 was fumbling with a match and finally lit the lamp….
What do you think they found inside the house?
I received this story in a Christmas card from a friend. With some searching I discovered that it is actually a book, so this must be a shortened version. You can get the rest of the story from Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Prayer-Rian-B-Anderson/dp/1577349008 or Deseret Book. https://deseretbook.com/p/christmas-prayer-rian-b-anderson-85037?variant_id=11496-ebook