On December 31st, when the clock strikes midnight, people all over the world cheer and wish each other a Happy New Year. For some, this event is more than a change of a calendar... it symbolizes the beginning of a better tomorrow. So, if you're looking forward to a better year ahead, spread some joy with some of these well-known, wonderful New Year Greetings.
Irish Toast In the New Year, may your right hand always be stretched out in friendship, never in want.
Charles Lamb Of all sound of all bells, the most solemn and touching is the peal which rings out the Old Year.
Movie: "When Harry Met Sally", Harry Burns And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it's not because I'm lonely, and it's not because it's New Year's Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.
T. S. Eliot For last year's words belong to last year's language and next year's words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.
Edith Lovejoy Pierce We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called "Opportunity" and its first chapter is New Year's Day.
Sydney Smith Resolve to make at least one person happy every day, and then in ten years you may have made three thousand, six hundred and fifty persons happy, or brightened a small town by your contribution to the fund of general enjoyment.
Anonymous Your Merry Christmas may depend on what others do for you. But your Happy New Year depends on what you do for others.
William Makepeace Thackeray Certain corpuscles, denominated Christmas Books, with the ostensible intention of swelling the tide of exhilaration, or other expansive emotions, incident upon the exodus of the old and the inauguration of the New Year.
Minnie L. Haskins And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown. And he replied: Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light, and safer than a known way.
Aisha Elderwyn Every new year people make resolutions to change aspects of themselves they believe are negative. A majority of people revert back to how they were before and feel like failures. This year I challenge you to a new resolution. I challenge you to just be yourself.
G. K. Chesterton The object of a new year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul.
John Greenleaf Whittier We meet today To thank Thee for the era done, And Thee for the opening one
Emily Miller Then sing, young hearts that are full of cheer, With never a thought of sorrow; The old goes out, but the glad young year Comes merrily in tomorrow
F. M. Knowles, A Cheerful Year Book He who breaks a resolution is a weakling; He who makes one is a fool.
Martin Luther Glory to God in highest heaven, Who unto man His Son hath given; While angels sing with tender mirth, A glad new year to all the earth
Walter Scott Each age has deemed the new born year The fittest time for festal cheer
Benjamin Franklin Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each New Year find you a better man.
Edgar A. Guest A happy New Year! Grant that I May bring no tear to any eye When this New Year in time shall end Let it be said I've played the friend, Have lived and loved and labored here, And made of it a happy year.
William Arthur Ward This bright new year is given me To live each day with zest To daily grow and try to be My highest and my best!
Ella Wheeler Wilcox What can be said in New Year rhymes, That's not been said a thousand times? The new years come, the old years go, We know we dream, we dream we know. We rise up laughing with the light, We lie down weeping with the night. We hug the world until it stings, We curse it then and sigh for wings. We live, we love, we woo, we wed, We wreathe our prides, we sheet our dead. We laugh, we weep, we hope, we fear, And that's the burden of a year.
Charles Dickens A merry Christmas to everybody! A happy New Year to the world!
As the Father of the man whom you took part in murdering, I have something very important to say to you. I forgive you. With all My heart, I forgive you. I realize it may be hard for you to believe, but I really do.
At the trial, when you confessed to your part in the events that cost My Son his life and asked for My forgiveness, I immediately granted you that forgiving love from My heart. I can only hope you believe Me and will accept My forgiveness.
But this is not all I have to say to you. I want to make you an offer -- I want you to become My adopted child. You see, My Son who died was My only child, and I now want to share My life with you and leave My riches to you. This may not make sense to you or anyone else, but I believe you are worth the offer. I have arranged matters so that if you will receive My offer of forgiveness, not only will you be pardoned for your crime, but you also will be set free from your imprisonment, and your sentence of death will be dismissed. At that point, you will become My adopted child and heir to all My riches.
I realize this is a risky offer for Me to make to you. You might be tempted to reject My offer completely, but I make it to you without reservation. Also, I realize it may seem foolish to make such an offer to one who cost My Son his life, but I now have a great love and unchangeable forgiveness in My heart for you.
Finally, you may be concerned that once you accept My offer you may do something to cause you to be denied your rights as an heir to My wealth.
Nothing could be further from the truth. If I can forgive you for your part in My Son's death, I can forgive you for anything. I know you will never be perfect, but you do not have to be perfect to receive My offer.
Besides, I believe that once you have accepted My offer and begin to experience the riches that will come to you from Me, that your primary (though not always) response will be gratitude and loyalty. Some would call Me foolish for My offer to you, but I wish for you to call Me your Father.
The story goes that some time ago, a man punished his 3-year-old daughter for wasting a roll of gold wrapping paper. Money was tight and he became infuriated when the child tried to decorate a box to put under the Christmas tree. Nevertheless, the little girl brought the gift to her father the next morning and said, "This is for you, Daddy."
The man was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, but his anger flared again when he found out the box was empty. He yelled at her, stating, "Don't you know, when you give someone a present, there is supposed to be something inside? The little girl looked up at him with tears in her eyes and cried, "Oh, Daddy, it's not empty at all. I blew kisses into the box. They're all for you, Daddy."
The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little girl, and he begged for her forgiveness.
Only a short time later, an accident took the life of the child. It is also told that her father kept that gold box by his bed for many years and, whenever he was discouraged, he would take out an imaginary kiss and remember the love of the child who had put it there.
In a very real sense, each one of us, as humans beings, have been given a gold container filled with unconditional love and kisses... from our children, family members, friends, and God. There is simply no other possession, anyone could hold, more precious than this.
Three years ago, a little boy and his grandmother came to see Santa at the Mayfair Mall in
Wisconsin. The child climbed up on his lap, holding a picture of a little girl. 'Who is this?'
asked Santa, smiling. 'Your friend? Your sister?'' 'Yes, Santa,' he replied. 'My sister, Sarah,
who is very sick,' he said sadly.
Santa glanced over at the grandmother who was waiting nearby, and saw her dabbing her
eyes with a tissue. 'She wanted to come with me to see you, oh, so very much , Santa!'
the child exclaimed. 'She misses you,' he added softly.
Santa tried to be cheerful and encouraged a smile to the boy's face, asking him what
he wanted Santa to bring him for Christmas.
When they finished their visit, the Grandmother came over to help the child off his lap, and
started to say something to Santa, but halted.
'What is it?' Santa asked warmly.
'Well, I know it's really too much to ask you, Santa, but...' the old woman began, shooing
her grandson over to one of Santa's elves to collect the little gift which Santa gave all his
'The girl in the photograph... my granddaughter well, you see ...she has leukemia and
isn't expected to make it even through the holidays,' she said through tear-filled eyes.
'Is there any way, Santa, any possible way that you could come see Sarah? That's all
she's asked for, for Christmas, is to see Santa.'
Santa blinked and swallowed hard and told the woman to leave information with his
elves as to where Sarah was, and he would see what he could do. Santa thought of
little else the rest of that afternoon. He knew what he had to do. 'What if it were MY
child lying in that hospital bed, dying,' he thought with a sinking heart, 'This is the
least I can do.'
When Santa finished visiting with all the boys and girls that evening, he retrieved
from his helper the name of the hospital where Sarah was staying. He asked the
assistant location manager how to get to Children's Hospital.
'Why?' Rick asked, with a puzzled look on his face.
Santa relayed to him the conversation with Sarah's grandmother earlier that day.
'C'mon.....I'll take you there.' Rick said softly Rick drove them to the hospital and
came inside with Santa. They found out which room Sarah was in. A pale Rick said
he would wait out in the hall.
Santa quietly peeked into the room through the half-closed door and saw little Sarah
on the bed.
The room was full of what appeared to be her family; there was the Grandmother
and the girl's brother he had met earlier that day. A woman whom he guessed was
Sarah's mother stood by the bed, gently pushing Sarah's thin hair off her forehead.
And another woman who he discovered later was Sarah's aunt, sat in a chair near the
bed with a weary, sad look on her face. They were talking quietly, and Santa could
sense the warmth and closeness of the family, and their love and concern for Sarah.
Taking a deep breath, and forcing a smile on his face, Santa entered the room,
bellowing a hearty, 'Ho, ho, ho!'
'Santa!' shrieked little Sarah weakly, as she tried to escape her bed to run to him,
IV tubes intact. Santa rushed to her side and gave her a warm hug. A child the tender
age of his own son -- 9 years old --gazed up at him with wonder and excitement.
Her skin was pale and her short tresses bore telltale bald patches from the effects of
chemotherapy. But all he saw when he looked at her was a pair of huge, blue eyes.
His heart melted, and he had to force himself to choke back tears.
Though his eyes were riveted upon Sarah's face, he could hear the gasps and
quiet sobbing of the women in the room.
As he and Sarah began talking, the family crept quietly to the bedside one by one,
squeezing Santa's shoulder or his hand gratefully, whispering 'Thank you' as they
gazed sincerely at him with shining eyes. Santa and Sarah talked and talked, and
she told him excitedly all the toys she wanted for Christmas, assuring him she'd been
a very good girl that year.
As their time together dwindled, Santa felt led in his spirit to pray for Sarah, and asked
for permission from the girl's mother. She nodded in agreement and the entire family
circled around Sarah's bed, holding hands. Santa looked intensely at Sarah and asked
her if she believed in angels, 'Oh, yes, Santa... I do!' she exclaimed.
'Well, I'm going to ask that angels watch over you.' he said. Laying one hand on the
child's head, Santa closed his eyes and prayed. He asked that God touch little Sarah,
and heal her body from this disease.
He asked that angels minister to her, watch and keep her. And when he finished
praying, still with eyes closed, he started singing, softly, 'Silent Night, Holy Night...
all is calm, all is bright...'
'The family joined in, still holding hands, smiling at Sarah, and crying tears of hope,
tears of joy for this moment, as Sarah beamed at them all.
When the song ended, Santa sat on the side of the bed again and held Sarah's frail,
small hands in his own. 'Now, Sarah,' he said authoritatively, 'you have a job to do,
and that is to concentrate on getting well. I want you to have fun playing with your
friends this summer, and I expect to see you at my house at Mayfair Mall this time next year!'
He knew it was risky proclaiming that to this little girl who had terminal cancer, but he 'had' to.
He had to give her the greatest gift he could -- not dolls or games or toys -- but the gift of HOPE.
'Yes, Santa!' Sarah exclaimed, her eyes bright. He leaned down and kissed her on the forehead
and left the room.
Out in the hall, the minute Santa's eyes met Rick's, a look passed between them and they
Sarah's mother and grandmother slipped out of the room quickly and rushed to Santa's
side to thank him.
'My only child is the same age as Sarah,' he explained quietly. 'This is the least I could do.'
They nodded with understanding and hugged him.
One year later, Santa Mark was again back on the set in Milwaukee for his six-week,
seasonal job which he so loves to do. Several weeks went by and then one day a
child came up to sit on his lap.
'Hi, Santa! Remember me?!' 'Of course, I do,' Santa proclaimed (as he always does),
smiling down at her. After all, the secret to being a 'good' Santa is to always make each
child feel as if they are the 'only' child in the world at that moment.
'You came to see me in the hospital last year!' Santa's jaw dropped. Tears immediately
sprang in his eyes, and he grabbed this little miracle and held her to his chest. 'Sarah!'
he exclaimed. He scarcely recognized her, for her hair was long and silky and her cheeks
were rosy -- much different from the little girl he had visited just a year before. He looked
over and saw Sarah's mother and grandmother in the sidelines smiling and waving and
wiping their eyes.
That was the best Christmas ever for Santa Claus.
He had witnessed --and been blessed to be instrumental in bringing about -- this miracle
of hope. This precious little child was healed. Cancer-free. Alive and well. He silently l
ooked up to Heaven and humbly whispered, 'Thank you, Father. 'Tis a very, Merry Christmas!'
This story took place in December 1997, according to Susan Leonard who wrote the story based
on a first hand account from her husband, Mark R. Leonard who is a professional Santa Claus.
A man named Bob May, depressed and brokenhearted, stared out his drafty apartment window into the chilling December night. His 4-year-old daughter Barbara sat on his lap quietly sobbing.
Bobs wife, Evelyn, was dying of cancer.
Little Barbara couldn't understand why her mommy could never come home. Barbara looked up into her dad's eyes and asked, "Why isn't Mommy just like everybody else's Mommy?" Bob's jaw tightened and his eyes welled with tears.
Her question brought waves of grief, but also of anger. It had been the story of Bob's life. Life always had to be different for Bob.
Small when he was a kid, Bob was often bullied by other boys. He was too little at the time to compete in sports. He was often called names he'd rather not remember. From childhood, Bob was different and never seemed to fit in. Bob did complete college, married his loving wife and was grateful to get his job as a copywriter at Montgomery Ward during the Great Depression. Then he was blessed with his little girl. But it was all short-lived. Evelyn's bout with cancer stripped them of all their s avings and now Bob and his daughter were forced to live in a two-room apartment in the Chicago slums. Evelyn died just days before Christmas in 1938.
Bob struggled to give hope to his child, for whom he couldn't even afford to buy a Christmas gift. But if he couldn't buy a gift, he was determined to make one - a storybook! Bob had created a character in his own mind and told the animal's story to little Barbara to give her comfort and hope. Again and again Bob told the story, embellishing it more with each telling.
Who was the character? What was the story all about? The story Bob May created was his own autobiography in fable form. The character he created was a misfit outcast like he was. The name of the character? A little reindeer named Rudolph, with a big shiny nose.
Bob finished the book just in time to give it to his little girl on Christmas Day. But the story doesn't end there.
The general manager of Montgomery Ward caught wind of the little storybook and offered Bob May a nominal fee to purchase the rights to print the book. Wards went on to print "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and distribute it to children visiting Santa Claus in their stores. By 1946 Wards had printed and distributed more than six million copies of Rudolph. That same year, a major publisher wanted to purchase the rights from Wards to print an updated version of the book.
In an unprecedented gesture of kindness, the CEO of Wards returned all rights back to Bob May. The book became a best seller. Many toy and marketing deals followed and Bob May, now remarried with a growing family, became wealthy from the story he created to comfort his grieving daughter. But the story doesn't end there either.
Bob's brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, made a song adaptation to Rudolph. Though the song was turned down by such popular vocalists as Bing Crosby and Dinah Shore, it was recorded by the singing cowboy, Gene Autry. "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" was released in 1949 and became a phenomenal success, selling more records than any other Christmas song, with the exception of "White Christmas."
The gift of love that Bob May created for his daughter so long ago kept on returning back to bless him again and again. And Bob May learned the lesson, just like his dear friend Rudolph, that being different isn't so bad In fact, being different can be a blessing.
Jeremy was born with a twisted body and a slow mind. At the age of 12 he was still in second grade, seemingly unable to learn. His teacher, Doris Miller, often became exasperated with him. He would squirm in his seat, drool, and make grunting noises. At other times, he spoke clearly and distinctly, as if a spot of light had penetrated the darkness of his brain. Most of the time, however, Jeremy just irritated his teacher.
One day she called his parents and asked them to come in for a consultation. As the Forresters entered the empty classroom, Doris said to them, "Jeremy really belongs in a special school. It isn't fair to him to be with younger children who don't have learning problems. Why, there is a five year gap between his age and that of the other students."
Mrs. Forrester cried softly into a tissue, while her husband spoke. "Miss Miller," he said, "there is no school of that kind nearby. It would be a terrible shock for Jeremy if we had to take him out of this school. We know he really likes it here." Doris sat for a long time after they had left, staring at the snow outside the window. Its coldness seemed to seep into her soul. She wanted to sympathize with the Forresters. After all, their only child had a terminal illness. But it wasn't fair to keep him in her class. She had 18 other youngsters to teach, and Jeremy was a distraction. Furthermore, he would never learn to read and write. Why waste any more time trying?
As she pondered the situation, guilt washed over her. Here I am complaining when my problems are nothing compared to that poor family, she thought. Lord, please help me to be more patient with Jeremy. From that day on, she tried hard to ignore Jeremy's noises and his blank stares. Then one day, he limped to her desk, dragging his bad leg behind him.
"I love you, Miss Miller," he exclaimed, loud enough for the whole class to hear. The other students snickered, and Doris' face turned red. She stammered, "Wh-why that's very nice, Jeremy. N-now please take your seat."
Spring came, and the children talked excitedly about the coming of Easter. Doris told them the story of Jesus, and then to emphasize the idea of new life springing forth, she gave each of the children a large plastic egg. "Now," she said to them, "I want you to take this home and bring it back tomorrow with something inside that shows new life. Do you understand?"
"Yes, Miss Miller," the children responded enthusiastically - all except for Jeremy. He listened intently; his eyes never left her face. He did not even make his usual noises. Had he understood what she had said about Jesus' death and resurrection? Did he understand the assignment? Perhaps she should call his parents and explain the project to them.
That evening, Doris' kitchen sink stopped up. She called the landlord and waited an hour for him to come by and unclog it. After that, she still had to shop for groceries, iron a blouse, and prepare a vocabulary test for the next day. She completely forgot about phoning Jeremy's parents.
The next morning, 19 children came to school, laughing and talking as they placed their eggs in the large wicker basket on Miss Miller's desk. After they completed their math lesson, it was time to open the eggs. In the first egg, Doris found a flower. "Oh yes, a flower is certainly a sign of new life," she said. "When plants peek through the ground, we know that spring is here." A small girl in the first row waved her arm. "That's my egg, Miss Miller," she called out. The next egg contained a plastic butterfly, which looked very real. Doris held it up. "We all know that a caterpillar changes and grows into a beautiful butterfly. Yes, that's new life, too." Little Judy smiled proudly and said, "Miss Miller, that one is mine." Next, Doris found a rock with moss on it. She explained that moss, too, showed life. Billy spoke up from the back of the classroom, "My daddy helped me," he beamed.
Then Doris opened the fourth egg. She gasped. The egg was empty. Surely it must be Jeremy's she thought, and of course, he did not understand her instructions. If only she had not forgotten to phone his parents. Because she did not want to embarrass him, she quietly set the egg aside and reached for another. Suddenly, Jeremy spoke up. "Miss Miller, aren't you going to talk about my egg?" Flustered, Doris replied, "But Jeremy, your egg is empty." He looked into her eyes and said softly, "Yes, but Jesus' tomb was empty, too."
Time stopped. When she could speak again, Doris asked him, "Do you know why the tomb was empty?" "Oh, yes," Jeremy said, "Jesus was killed and put in there. Then His Father raised Him up."
The recess bell rang. While the children excitedly ran out to the school yard, Doris cried. The cold inside her melted completely away.
Three months later, Jeremy died. Those who paid their respects at the mortuary were surprised to see 19 eggs on top of his casket, all of them empty.
This is a true story, the names have been changed for sake of privacy. Ida Mae Kempel is a free-lance writer from Alameda, California. This article appeared in Focus on the Family, April, 1988.
Bobby was getting cold sitting out in his back yard in the snow. Bobby didn't wear boots; he didn't own any and he didn't like them anyway. The thin sneakers he wore had a few holes in them and they did a poor job of keeping out the cold. Bobby had been in his backyard for about an hour already. And, try as he might, he could not come up with an idea for his mother's Christmas gift.
He shook his head as he thought, "This is useless, even if I do come up with an idea, I don't have any money to spend."
Ever since his father had passed away three years ago, the family of five had struggled. It wasn't because his mother didn't care, or try, there just never seemed to be enough. She worked nights at the hospital, but the small wage that she was earning could only be stretched so far. What the family lacked in money and material things, they more than made up for in love and family unity. Bobby had two older sisters and one younger sister, who ran the house hold in their mother's absence. All three of his sisters had already made beautiful gifts for their mother.
Somehow it just wasn't fair. Here it was Christmas Eve already, and he had nothing. Wiping a tear from his eye, Bobby kicked the snow and started to walk down to the street where the shops and stores were. It wasn't easy being six without a father, especially when he needed a man to talk to.
Bobby walked from shop to shop, looking into each decorated window. Everything seemed so beautiful and so out of reach. It was starting to get dark and Bobby reluctantly turned to walk home when suddenly his eyes caught the glimmer of the setting sun's rays reflecting off of something along the curb. He reached down and discovered a shiny dime. Never before has anyone felt so wealthy as Bobby felt at that moment.
As he held his new found treasure, a warmth spread throughout his entire body and he walked into the first store he saw. His excitement quickly turned cold when the salesperson told him that he couldn't buy anything with only a dime.
He saw a flower shop and went inside to wait in line. When the shop owner asked if he could help him, Bobby presented the dime and asked if he could buy one flower for his mother's Christmas gift.
The shop owner looked at Bobby and his ten cent offering. Then he put his hand on Bobby's shoulder and said to him, "You just wait here and I'll see what I can do for you."
As Bobby waited he looked at the beautiful flowers and even though he was a boy, he could see why mothers and girls liked flowers.
The sound of the door closing as the last customer left jolted Bobby back to reality. All alone in the shop, Bobby began to feel alone and afraid. Suddenly the shop owner came out and moved to the counter. There, before Bobby's eyes, lay twelve long stem, red roses, with leaves of green and tiny white flowers all tied together with a big silver bow. Bobby's heart sank as the owner picked them up and placed them gently into a long white box.
"That will be ten cents young man," the shop owner said reaching out his hand for the dime.
Slowly, Bobby moved his hand to give the man his dime. Could this be true? No one else would give him a thing for his dime!
Sensing the boy's reluctance, the shop owner added, "I just happened to have some roses on sale for ten cents a dozen. Would you like them?"
This time Bobby did not hesitate, and when the man placed the long box into his hands, he knew it was true. Walking out the door that the owner was holding for Bobby, he heard the shop keeper say, "Merry Christmas, son,"
As he returned inside, the shop keeper's wife walked out. "Who were you talking to back there and where are the roses you were fixing?"
Staring out the window, and blinking the tears from his own eyes, he replied, "A strange thing happened to me this morning. While I was setting up things to open the shop, I thought I heard a voice telling me to set aside a dozen of my best roses for a special gift. I wasn't sure at the time whether I had lost my mind or what, but I set them aside anyway. Then just a few minutes ago, a little boy came into the shop and wanted to buy a flower for his mother with one small dime.
"When I looked at him, I saw myself, many years ago. I too, was a poor boy with nothing to buy my mother a Christmas gift. A bearded man, whom I never knew, stopped me on the street and told me that he wanted to give me ten dollars.
"When I saw that little boy tonight, I knew who that voice was, and I put together a dozen of my very best roses." The shop owner and his wife hugged each other tightly, and as they stepped out into the bitter cold air, they somehow didn't feel cold at all.
We were the only family with children in the restaurant. I sat Erik in a high chair and noticed everyone was quietly eating and talking. Suddenly, Erik squealed with glee and said, "Hi there." He pounded his fat baby hands on the high chair tray. His eyes were crinkled in laughter and his mouth was bared in a toothless grin, as he wriggled and giggled with merriment. I looked around and saw the source of his merriment. It was a man whose pants were baggy with a zipper at half-mast and his toes poked out of would-be shoes. His shirt was dirty and his hair was uncombed and unwashed. His whiskers were too short to be called a beard and his nose was so varicose it looked like a road map. We were too far from him to smell, but I was sure he smelled.
His hands waved and flapped on loose wrists. Hi there, baby; Hi there, big boy. I see ya, buster," the man said to Erik. My husband and I exchanged looks, "What do we do?" Erik continued to laugh and answer, "Hi, hi there." Everyone in the restaurant noticed and looked at us and then at the man. The old geezer was creating a nuisance with my beautiful baby.
Our meal came and the man began shouting from across the room, "Do ya patty cake? Do you know peek-a-boo? Hey, look, he knows peek-a-boo." Nobody thought the old man was cute. He was obviously drunk. My husband and I were embarrassed. We ate in silence; all except for Erik, who was running through his repertoire for the admiring skid row bum, who in turn, reciprocated with his cute comments.
We finally got through the meal and headed for the door. My husband went to pay the check and told me to meet him in the parking lot. The old man sat poised between me and the door. "Lord, just let me out of here before he speaks to me or Erik," I prayed. As I drew closer to the man, I turned my back trying to sidestep him and avoid any air he might be breathing. As I did, Erik leaned over my arm, reaching with both arms in a baby's "pick-me-up" position. Before I could stop him, Erik had propelled himself from my arms to the man's. Suddenly a very old smelly man and a very young baby consummated their relationship. Erik in an act of total trust, love, and submission laid his tiny head upon the man's ragged shoulder.
The man's eyes closed, and I saw tears hover beneath his lashes. His aged hands full of grime, pain, and hard labor, cradled my baby's bottom and stroked his back. No two beings have ever loved so deeply for so short a time. I stood awestruck. The old man rocked and cradled Erik in his arms and his eyes opened and set squarely on mine. He said in a firm commanding voice, "You take care of this baby." Somehow I managed, "I will," from a throat that contained a stone.
He pried Erik from his chest unwillingly, longingly, as though he were in pain. I received my baby, and the man said, "God bless you, ma'am, you've given me my Christmas gift. You see, m'am, I never saw my child grow up. My wife and son were taken from me in an automobile accident when they were both too young. I was never able to get over it."
I said nothing more than a muttered thanks and "I'm sorry to hear that." With Erik in my arms, I ran for the car. My husband was wondering why I was crying and holding Erik so tightly, and why I was saying, "My God, my God, forgive me." I had just witnessed Christ's love shown through the innocence of a tiny child who saw no sin, who made no judgment; a child who saw a soul, and a mother who saw a suit of clothes. I was a Christian who was blind, holding a child who was not. I felt it was God asking, "Are you willing to share your son for a moment?" when He shared His for all eternity. The ragged old man, unwittingly, had reminded me,
"I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” - Matthew 18:3 (NIV)