The Beginning

Myrtle Winters is a very lonely woman. She is sitting by her window at home staring outside. “Those kids are playing in what seems to be an eternal snow. Why did they have to pick my yard to play in?” she wondered. “Christmas is only 3 days away. Do you know what Santa is bringing me?” Susie was asking Mary. “No,” Mary answered. “He’s bringing me a brand new bike!” Susie bragged. “That’s nice,” Mary said. “What’s he bringing you?” Susie asked. Tyler jumped in, “I’m getting a play station with lots of games!” “Nobody asked you,” said Susie. Tyler, unwilling to be ignored, said, “So what if nobody asked me? I was going to invite you over to play.” Susie snobbishly answered, “I’ll be too busy riding my new bike! Maybe after I get tired of it. But Mary will come over and play. I don’t think Santa is coming to her house.”  “He is too!” Mary defensively screamed. Inside Myrtle’s house, she is thinking, that Susie is such a little snob to be so little. I wonder if her parents are like that? Oh what do I care!!! I just wish those kids would go away. Then quietly she said, “I remember when mine were that size. I wonder what they’re doing today? I miss them so much.” Outside Mary was still being defensive. “I was told it was a big surprise. Who knows? I may get a car for Christmas!”  Mary’s older sister, Jenny was just arriving. She overheard and said, “Yea and I may get a spaceship.”  All the kids laughed, except Mary. “Mom said to come home for dinner. It’s getting late,” Jenny said. Mary hung her head and followed Jenny home, knowing the kids were laughing at her. Just inside the window, lonely Myrtle Winters watched as Mary walked away. To herself she said, “I wish I could help her. I know of her family and Santa probably won’t be there.” As the kids were leaving, Myrtle said, “Oh thank You, God, they’re finally leaving. Now maybe I can get some  peace and goodwi…. I mean peace and quiet. ” Over at Mary’s house Jenny was telling their parents, “I could not believe Mary said she might get a new car for Christmas!” Mary argued, “I had to say something. Susie is always bragging about what she has or is getting or already had.” Jenny explained with a question, “What will you do when the car doesn’t show up?” Mary was distraught and said, “I don’t know, Jenny, just leave me alone!”  “That’s enough, girls,” their mother said. “Jenny, you are supposed to support and encourage your little sister, not make her look silly; and Mary, you know you’re not supposed to lie. It is a sin to lie and God knows all. So finish your dinner and not another word.”  So they finished dinner and later went to bed. Meanwhile, back at Myrtle’s house, she continued to stare out the window. Although now she held a family photo album clutched to her heart and there were tears in her eyes. “Only three more days until Christmas,” she pondered, “the best and holiest day of the year, a family time; and I’ll be all alone.” Then she fell to her knees and prayed, “God, I know I must have done something terrible to have to spend Christmas alone. Please! Please forgive me! Please, Lord, take care of my children and grandchildren wherever they are. Don’t leave their side. Please don’t ever let them feel the pain of being alone on the birthday of Jesus Christ. Thank You, Jesus, for Your precious love and mercy, in Your Holy name I pray. Amen.” Myrtle went to bed. When Myrtle awoke the next morning, there were no playful sounds outside. Myrtle wondered at that and when she looked out the window, she gasped, “Janie??!!  Oh,” sounding disappointed, “it’s Mary.” There wasn’t a sign of Susie, Tyler, or any other children so she went to the door and called, “Mary, would you like to come in and warm a bit?” Mary’s reply was, ” Oh, well, uh.” So Myrtle reassured her with, “It’ll be alright. You can leave anytime you like. Come have some hot cocoa.” “Well okay, Mrs. Winters,” Mary said. While Mary was taking off her coat, Mrs. Winters went to the kitchen to get her cocoa. Mary said, “You have a nice house and it’s so pretty.” Myrtle answered, “Why thank you, Mary, but it sure does get lonely, especially during the holidays. By the way, you remind me so much of my Janie. At first, when you were outside, I thought you were Janie. But that’s nonsense! She’s grown now.” “Does she have any children?” Mary asked. Myrtle replied, “I really  don’t know. Haven’t seen my children for ten years.” “How come?” Mary asked puzzled. She couldn’t imagine not seeing her mom for even one day! “Do they live too far away?”  “They..well…Jonathan lives about 50 miles away and Janie about 30 miles away,” Myrtle answered.  Mary thought and then exclaimed, “If they can’t come here, why don’t you go visit them?” This flustered Myrtle and she replied, “Oh, I couldn’t do that! Tell me, Mary, how can you play in that cold snow all day?”  “I don’t know,” said Mary. “Do you have any pictures of your kids?” “A few of them when they were little but I’m sure they don’t look like that now,” answered Myrtle. “Please let me see them! Let me see what they did look like!” begged Mary. Myrtle answered, “Maybe another time. Run along now and play with your friends.” Myrtle needed to avoid the subject of her own children. With that said, Mary left. But she didn’t look happy and I don’t think she found any of her friends. She did have a curious, very puzzled look on her face. That same morning as Myrtle sat by her window, she watched as Mary went from house to house, door to door. “I wonder what she’s selling and why she hasn’t been to my house. She probably thinks I can’t afford to buy anything just because I’m old and doesn’t want to embarrass me” thought Myrtle. Then she dozed off to sleep in her chair. Back at Mary’s house, Mary is begging, “Please Mom and dad, I just have to call them. I just have to! It’s so important! Please let me!” Then mom answered, “But you hardly know her.” “Mom, you don’t have to know her to see how lonely she is. Besides tomorrow is Christmas Eve and she’s all alone.” “What makes you think you can help?” her dad asked. “Mom, dad, I just have to try. Please? I asked all the neighbors and only one person could give me a number that might work. Please let me call it,” explained Mary.  So Mary wasn’t selling anything door to door. She was doing detective work trying to find the children of Myrtle Winters. Will she succeed?  Her parents finally gave in and allowed her the one phone call. After dialing the number, a voice answered, “Is this Janie?” Mary asked. “No, it’s not,” said the voice on the other end. So Mary asked, “Is  Jonathan there?”  The voice replied, “He’s outside bringing in the Christmas tree.” So Mary asked, “Who is this?” The voice answered, “I’m Kerrie. My dad is Jonathan.”  Mary’s heart pounded as she asked, “Kerrie, is Myrtle Winters your grandmother?”  Kerrie answered so softly, “That’s my dad’s mom. He says she hates us and won’t have anything to do with us or Aunt Janie’s family.” Puzzled, Mary said, “I heard her say she loves them and misses them very much. And she was crying. She’s all alone and it’s Christmas. Couldn’t you just call your grandmother and wish her a Merry Christmas? It would mean so much to her.” Kerrie was quiet for a minute and then said, “Maybe… give me time to think about it. Thanks for calling and telling me. What is your name?” Mary replied, “My name is Mary, but please don’t let your grandmother know I called.” Kerrie  said, “Okay….. thanks again, bye.”  So Mary did succeed! She talked to Myrtle’s granddaughter. Will Mary be able to reunite Myrtle with her children? Before Christmas? The children are playing near Myrtle’s house again so let’s find out what’s happening. Susie’s little sister, Michelle, was whining, “Susie, mommy said for you  to let me play too!” Susie responded, “You might get hurt, Michelle! Besides, I don’t want to watch after you.” Mary told Michelle, “Come on, Michelle, I’ll push you  on the swings.” A delighted Michelle squealed, “Oh boy!” Then finished with “Mary, is it true that Santa is not coming to your house?” Sadly Mary said, “I don’t have  to ask who told you that.” Michelle answered, “Nobody told me. I heard mommy on the phone. That’s what Susie told her. I don’t know who mommy was talking to.” With a heavy sigh, Mary said, “Michelle, I just remembered, I have to go home.” This made Michelle sad but as Mary walked away, she was thinking, “Now everybody will know.” Mary didn’t go home. She walked to the church and went inside. While kneeling at the altar Mary prayed, “God, please make Susie stop saying things. Susie is my best friend and I love her but she makes me so mad sometimes!! Just because she lives in a big house she thinks that she is better than everybody else. God, please show her that Christmas is not even about money. My mom has always told me that it’s about Jesus and love. Help me, God, so that I’ll know what to say to her. And God, please don’t forget Mrs. Winters and her children. Thank You, God, and Merry Christmas. AMEN When Mary went home, her mom told her that Mrs. Winters had called and wanted to see her. So Mary asked, “May I go now?” Her mom answered, “I suppose, but don’t be gone long. It’s getting late.” “Okay, mom and uh, thanks,” Mary said. Her mom wondered at that, “And thanks? What in the world for?” That evening the streets were icy and very slippery. That didn’t slow Mary down. She was so excited. A grown woman she hardly knew had called and asked for her! Mary amused herself with the thought, “I’ll bet an adult has never called for Susie to come over! Maybe I’ll take her with me sometime to see Mrs. Winters. No…I better not do that. She might like Susie better than me.” Mary arrived at Mrs. Winter’s house and as she raised her hand to knock on the door, it flew open! There stood Mrs. Winters. Myrtle said, “Mary, I had to tell someone and it had to be you.” “What? Tell me,” said Mary. “Well, my phone rang today and when I answered, there was a small, quiet sounding voice at the other end. The first word I heard was “Grandma.” I asked who it was and she said, “Kerrie, your granddaughter,” Myrtle explained. Myrtle had tears rolling down her cheek. Mary thought, “She really called!” Myrtle wiped away her tears and continued, “We talked for 45 minutes. God has forgiven me for whatever it was I had done and He has given me a granddaughter: Kerrie M Winters was her name. She said the “M” is not an abbreviation. It is her real name…in my honor. My children think I hate them.” The tears started to fall again. Mary asked, “Why would they think that? You’re such a nice lady!” “I’m not your mom either. I had dreams for my children. They had their own ideas. We had a few words and they disappeared. The first 2 years they sent me a birthday card. Then I never heard from them again……until today,” Myrtle answered. Overcome with joy, Mary said, “You sound like Santa has given you everything you ever wanted for Christmas!” Quietly Myrtle said, “Santa has used God’s love. I’ve been praying for ten years. Some people say there is not a Santa, but I know better.” Excitement filled Mary as she asked, “You mean there really is? Because I’ve been told there’s not but I believe there is but I’m just a little girl so I really don’t know.” So Myrtle explained to the best of her ability, “Years and years ago a baby was born. This baby is God’s son, Jesus. God loved His people so much that He gave His only begotten son. God’s son died for us!! Every year on the 25th of December all the children of the world receive all sorts of goodies. Rumor has it that Santa Claus brings these because he loves all the children so much. If God can give His son to die for us, then why couldn’t He give the children a Santa? Now Santa loves all the children but God’s love is by far greater than anything you’ll ever know. Oh, I didn’t mean to go on and on…” But Mary said, “Oh! I’m glad you did! I knew Christmas was about Baby Jesus and love. But you helped me to understand that it’s all about giving and not receiving. Thank you so much! Now tell me more about Kerrie!” Myrtle said, “Well she said that she was going to tell her dad that she talked to me and see if maybe they might come here Christmas Day.” Without thinking, Mary exclaimed, “Hooray!! Thank you, Jesus!!” Puzzled, Myrtle asked, “What do you mean?” Thinking fast, Mary replied, “Well, uh, you said you’ve been praying for ten years….now He has answered them.” “Oh, yes. God does answer prayers. You just have to have faith. By the way, Mary, what is Santa bringing you this year?” Myrtle asked. Mary’s face went blank as she stared at Mrs. Winters. Mary composed herself and answered, “Mrs. Winters, Santa has already given me my Christmas present. I have a new, really true friend to talk to….you. I have received the truth about love and that I must give all I have in order to be truly happy.” Myrtle was amazed and responded, “Thank you, Mary. That was a really sweet thing for you to say.” Then Mary said, “It’s getting dark. I better hurry home. Thank you for calling me. Goodnight.” Without hesitating, Mary kissed Myrtle on the cheek and ran out. Myrtle was puzzled, but reached for her photo album and sat down in her chair until bedtime. Mary made it home and tracked snow all through the house. Her mom made her clean it up and then sent her to bed. That night Mary dreamed about Susie. Susie was riding her new bike down the street and went right out in front of a car. Mary woke up screaming and crying. Her mom and dad ran into the room. “Mary! Are you alright?” her mom asked. “What happened?” asked her dad. Mary was crying so hard she couldn’t answer. Her mom just held her and tried to comfort her. Eventually Mary was only sobbing. “I’m okay, mom. I just had a bad dream. I’ll be alright,” said Mary. Her dad asked, “Are you sure?” “I’m fine. I’ll just go back to sleep. Love you both. Goodnight,” Mary reassured them. So mom and dad retreated back to their own room and went back to bed. The rest of the night was peaceful. Mary woke up early the next morning, dressed, left a note and ran to Susie’s house. It was Christmas Eve. Mary rang the doorbell and Susie’s dad opened the door. Mary asked, “Is Susie here?” Susie’s father, Mr. Morgan, said, “No, Susie is at her grandmother’s house for the holidays.” Mary thought, That must be why I haven’t seen her. “When will she be back? Mary asked politely. Mr. Morgan replied “I’m not sure. Her mother and I are going there today and I really don’t know when we’ll be back; but I’ll tell her you were here.” Still worried, Mary asked, “Mr. Morgan, is Susie getting a bike for Christmas?” “Heavens no! We can’t afford a bike this year. Where did you ever get an idea like that?” “Well, Susie said…Susie said she might ask Santa for a bike but she wasn’t sure that’s what she wanted,” said Mary. Mr. Morgan replied, “That’s odd. She told us all she wanted was to spend time with grandma.” “Thank you so much, Mr. Morgan and Merry Christmas!” Mary said. “Same to you,” he replied. As Mary was walking home she wondered about all the things Mr. Morgan had said; and about what Jenny had said about the car (what are you going to do when it doesn’t show up?) What is Susie going to do when the bike doesn’t show up? Walking along in deep thought, it came to Mary. That’s why she wanted to go to her Grandmother’s house… she could say that’s where her bike is!! Just then, “Mary! Oh, Mary!” It was Myrtle. Mary was in such deep thought she almost didn’t hear her name. “Huh? Oh! Hi, Mrs. Winters. How are you?” asked Mary. “I’m fine,” replied Myrtle. “Can you come in and visit a minute?” “Sure! Have you heard from Kerrie?” asked Mary. As Myrtle hung her head, she sadly said, “No and today is Christmas Eve. Anyway, I saw you outside and just thought maybe you would keep me company for a few minutes.” Mary could feel her pain and said, “I need to call home and let mom know where I am.” Before she could pick up the phone, it started to ring. Myrtle looked at Mary and nodded for her to go ahead and answer so she picked up the phone. “Hello? (pause) Yes, she’s right here,” said Mary handing the phone to Myrtle. Myrtle said, “Hello?” (pause and tears begin to show.) “J-J-Jonathan? Is it really you?” (pause) “How are you, son?” (pause) “How is Janie?” (pause) “Yes, son, tomorrow! I love you, son.” Tears of joy fell from her eyes as she hung up the phone. Mary looked and asked, “Was that really…” “Yes!” Myrtle interrupted, “I’ve been invited to  Christmas dinner…with my children and grandchildren!!” Excited Mary asked, “Are you going?” “I wouldn’t miss it! Mary, just knowing you has made such a difference in my….. Oooohh” .. (Myrtle fell to her knees and then to the floor.) “Mrs. Winters! Mrs. Winters! Can you hear me?” Mary cried. She called her mom, “Mom! Help me! Mrs.  Winters is in the floor and I don’t know what to do! Help me, mom!” Mary’s mom replied, “Mary, calm down and call 911. Your dad and I are on our way! Call 911!” Mary’s mom and dad went over but didn’t know what to do for Mrs. Winters. The ambulance arrived and the EMT’s tried to assess her condition but no one knew enough about her medical condition to give any information. So they stabilized her, put her into the ambulance and sped away. Mary looked at her parents and asked, “Do you think she’ll be okay? Her son called her today for the first time in 10 years and invited her to Christmas dinner with them. What will happen now?” Her dad said, “Do you still have that phone number?” Mary nodded, yes. “I guess we better make a phone call.” Mary’s parents locked the house and left for the hospital a short time later, after making that phone call. The doctors said that Mrs. Winters had suffered a mild heart attack so he had admitted her for the night. Mary was terribly upset. This was her new friend! Was she going to die? The doctor said, “She has been asking for someone called Mary.” “Oh, mom, may I go see her? Please?” Mary asked. “Of course you may,” her mom answered. “Just tell her we are here for her if she needs anything.” Mary nodded and hurried away. Quietly Mary entered the room and whispered, “Mrs. Winters?” Myrtle turned toward her and said weakly, “Mary, please come in. I need you to call Jonathan and tell him I just can’t make it. Tell him something came up.” “But Mrs. Winters!” Mary was troubled by this. But Myrtle interrupted, “Listen, Mary, after all these years, I don’t want my children to see me like this. It would appear I need someone to take care of me.” Troubled, Mary replied, “We already called him. He and Janie are on their way now. I’m sorry….I didn’t know.” At that moment the door flew open and Jonathan and Janie ran to their mother. “Mama!” cried Janie, “Are you okay? Mama, I love you so much!” Then Jonathan said, “It’s so good to see you, mom. We’ve missed you. Don’t you go and die on us now; just when God has given our mother back to us and a grandmother to our children. They are so excited about meeting you.” Myrtle replied, “God is so good. I’m so glad to have you back in my life again. I think you should meet the person who God has used to make all this possible. This is my new friend, Mary.”  Mary smiled at them and said “Hi.” Jonathan was the first to speak to Mary, “I’ve heard a lot about you, Mary. I must say it’s my pleasure and I know someone else who wants to meet you…Kerrie.” Mary blushed and said, “I would like to meet her too but for now, I’ll go so you can catch up on lost time. It’s nice to meet you both. Mrs. Winters, if you need me, you know you can call me.”  “Thank you, dear, and thank your mom and dad for me too,” said Myrtle, grateful to be alive. Mary went to find her mom and dad so they could go home. All the way home, Mary was thinking about Myrtle. She finally had her children back. Thank You, God, for all You have done. When they arrived home, Mary wanted to stay outside and maybe go for a walk. Mary thought about how Santa could fly through the air all over the world in one night. Then she remembered a poem she had read…. Santa Claus will be here soon.. He’ll come a’flyin’ ‘cross the moon…Bringing lots and lots of toys.. For all the little girls and boys. But what does Christmas really mean? And when was it begun? It means For God so Loved the World…He gave His only begotten Son. It began one night in Bethlehem… A baby boy was born… In a manger, in a barn, on a cold, dark night… Into a world of hate and scorn. This baby was our Savior … God’s son from up above… Sent to save us from our sin.. And to teach of God’s pure love. He gave His life so we could live… He asked His Father to forgive… Have you ever given your heart to “Them”? Have you ever said “Happy Birthday” to Him? Now Christmas time is here once more, What does it mean to you? That Santa Claus will be here soon? Or that Jesus will be too? He’ll come a’flyin’ ‘cross the sky.. Bringing gifts for you and I…..Indescribable gifts of hope and love…. Sent from our Father from up above. Now Mary wondered at the words of the poem and she found a place to sit and pray, “God, why did You let Your son be born in a barn? And why did You let people hate him? He was good and we were bad but He suffered for us. Please tell Him I’m sorry for what they did to Him. Also tell Him ‘Happy Birthday.’ God, please take care of Susie and Tyler, and Mrs. Winters. Thank You so much, God. I love You. AMEN. Oh, and don’t forget mom and dad and Jenny.” With one last look toward the sky, Mary headed home. It was Christmas Eve….but that was just another day at Mary Sawyer’s house. But somehow, this year it was different for Mary. She had a yearning to give to all her loved ones. Since Mary had no money, she had to think of something. After some time, she came up  with an idea and prepared their gifts, wrapped them and put them under the very small tree her dad had gone out and chopped down. She felt a joy inside, not because of Santa, but because she had given gifts of love from her heart. Then she told her mom, “Mom, I’m going to bed now. I want to visit with Mrs. Winters tomorrow at the hospital, if it’s alright.” Mom said, “We’ll see about that. Run along to bed. Goodnight.” Amazed at Mary, Dad said, “Our little girl is really growing up…..you know, it really is getting late. We better get some sleep too.” Mom agreed, as Jenny had already gone an hour ago. So dad turned out the lights and they headed for bed. Mary is still troubled about Susie. She knows that if that bike Susie had bragged about doesn’t show up, all the kids will tease her and Susie is her best friend…..DESPITE IT ALL!!! But finally Mary dozed off to sleep. When she awoke the next morning, she practically jumped out of bed. She wanted to watch her family open their gifts. As she started toward the kitchen, she could hear her mom and dad. Her dad was saying, “I didn’t do it!” Mom replied, “Well I didn’t do it. So who did?” Puzzled, Mary entered the room, “Mom, dad, is something wrong?” Jenny was right behind her with, “What’s all the noise about?” “Just look outside!” her dad stated. Excited, Mary exclaimed, “More snow!!???” “Not hardly,” said mom. Jenny had gone to the window first and after looking outside she asked, “Whose car is in the driveway and why is there a big red ribbon on it?” Mom and dad had already been outside, so mom answered, “The gift tag reads ‘To Mary and Family.’ “…..Love, Santa. Jenny laughed and said, “This has to be a joke….nobody gives away a car!!” Mary had been quietly listening. Then with enthusiasm she exclaimed, “There really is a Santa!! I have to go tell Mrs. Winters!!!” “Not this early,” said mom, “we haven’t even had breakfast.” Then Jenny remembered, “The tree!! Let’s check the tree! I wonder if Santa left anything under the tree!!” Mary looked at her dad and asked, “When’s the last time you heard Jenny say SANTA?” “About 4 years ago,” answered her dad. Mary and her dad were chuckling and her dad said, “We’ll check more on the ‘car’ after this.” As they opened their gifts, Mary got a new red scarf with matching mittens. Jenny got a dictionary and a pair of black leg warmers. AND from Mary, she got a coupon for 1 week of bed making. Mom got a pair of gloves from dad AND a coupon for 1 week of dish washing, from Mary.. Dad got a new shirt from mom and a coupon for 2 car washes. Then Jenny remarked, “So much for the SANTA theory!!” Disappointed by her sister’s unhappiness, Mary remembered the car, “Well, let’s go check out the car!!” “Good idea,” dad said, let’s do that.” Being the mother she was, mom said, “Not without your coats! You too, Jenny!” Out at the car everyone is really puzzled and confused, except Mary, and she knows that Santa really did do this! Dad scratched his head and asked, “What is going on here?” “Who cares? Look at all those presents! It looks like Santa’s sleigh! And they’re all from Santa!” exclaimed Jenny. Mary stood quietly, fully satisfied that Santa had been to her house. As dad slipped away, he followed the footsteps leading away from the car. He followed them to the house of……Myrtle Winters. He knocked on the door and a man answered. “You must be Jonathan.” With tears in his eyes, he just looked at Jonathan and asked, “Why?” “Come in, Mr. Sawyer and have some coffee with us,” replied Jonathan. Mr. Sawyer said, “I need to call my wife. She doesn’t know where I am.” So he called his wife and explained he would be home soon and as he hung up the phone, once again, looked at Jonathan and asked, “Why?” Quietly, Jonathan tried to explain, “You, your family and that little Mary have given Janie, me and our families more than we can ever return. Our children now have a Grandma Winters. The children have asked about her so many times. We thought she was so disappointed in us that she hated us so we never tried to make contact. Your Mary called Kerrie. Your Mary reunited all of us to my mother. And your family has cared about mom and looked after her. Mom told us of a situation between Mary and a little girl named Susie. Mom doesn’t want Mary to know because Mary has given her so much love. Please! Our secret?” Dad replied, “Let me pay you something.” With tears, Janie expressed her opinion, “We will owe Mary eternally. We thought we had lost mom forever, but your Mary gave her back to us, Please thank her for us.” Touched by the love he was hearing, dad asked, “How is Mrs. Winters this morning?” Jonathan seemed to be relieved and answered, “She’s coming home this afternoon. Janie and Fred, Tabitha and myself have decided to bring Christmas dinner here, at home with mama and the kids.” Janie interrupted, “We would love for you and your family to join us.” Being his thoughtful self, dad explained, “I wouldn’t want to intrude. You are seeing your mother for the first time in ten years.” “Only because of Mary,” Jonathan chimed in, “Please join us. It would be an honor and I know it would make mom very happy. Dinner will be around 6 p.m.”  So dad answered, “I’ll check with the family and see if they have any plans. I’ll let you know…..and thanks again. You all have made my girls very happy.” “No,” Janie said softly, “Thank you.” Back at Mary’s house, they had carried all the gifts in from the car and placed them under the tree. The girls had never seen so many gifts in one place! They were so excited along with mom, but impatiently waited for dad to return. Finally, he did return and with news of another gift….”Did anyone see that gift out at the garage?” As the two girls jumped up to run outside, mom said, “What!??” Mary came running back screaming, “A brand new bike!!! God, You’ve done it again! Thank You so much!!” Puzzled, Jenny asked, “What’s with her?” As mom stood in amazement, she answered,  “I do believe His name is Jesus.” Later, Mary commented to her mom that she thought Santa had made a mistake.  Susie had asked for a bike and she hadn’t so it would only be logical that it was meant for Susie. “Mom, can I have a name tag to put on Susie’s bike? I know Santa meant for Susie to have it.” “Are you sure?” Mom asked. Mary answered quickly, “Absolutely positive! And I need a sign to put on it so that Susie will not ride it in the street.” “Okay, Mary, if you’re sure,” her dad said. Mary was so excited about giving that she forgot all about the presents that had been placed under the tree. And Jenny just stared at her little sister thinking, “Where did the little brat go? She loves everybody!” Dad broke the spell when he asked, “Anyone for dinner at Mrs. Winters’ house? We’re invited to be there at 6:00.” That got Mary’s attention and she asked, “Really? Is she home? I have to go tell her about all that has happened.” “Hold on, little girl; Ron, what’s this all about?” asked Mrs. Sawyer. So dad explained, “Jonathan and Janie have their families at Myrtle’s house preparing Christmas dinner for their mom. And they have invited us. And, no, Mary, she’s not home yet, but soon.” Mom thought about it and answered, “Well, why not? We have no other plans.” Anxiously, Jenny asked, “Can we at least open the gifts first? You know, Santa had to work awfully hard to get them AND that car here.” “Jenny, I thought you didn’t believe in Santa!” exclaimed Mary. Jenny answered, “That was before!  A miracle from God is the only other way this could happen!!” Thoughtfully, Mary whispered to herself,  “Maybe it was a miracle from God…..Mrs. Winters got her children back, Susie got a bike and Santa came to my house… It really is a real Christmas miracle.”

THE END