It was the perfect Christmas for little Sammie. Everything had gone right, just the way he had hoped. His father had come home to spend the Christmas with them from his workplace just outside of town; his grandpa had joined his family for Christmas this year; his little sister stayed out of trouble, which made his mom a little less worried and everyone less tense—especially him; the food had been great; and he finally got his bike as a gift from his parents.
As they gathered in the living room that Christmas evening, Sammie smiled in contentment as he watched his family laugh and chat easily. They talked about the ‘good old days’, as Grandpa liked to call them, and although he didn’t know much about life during those days, Sammie enjoyed the stories his grandfather always told.
The night was a bit chilly and Mom had decided he’d had enough to eat that day; she ordered himself and Rita, his sister, up to their room to clean up and get ready for bed. Sammie whined and pleaded to be allowed to stay up with the rest of the family for a few more minutes, and just as he wanted, Grandpa joined the plea.
“It’s only one day of the year, Martha. Let them stay up late for once,” his grandfather said to his mom in the most charming way.
She smiled and agreed, but not before adding, “I don’t want to hear either of you complain when I wake you up in the morning!”
“Tell us a story, Grandpa,” Rita demanded as she ran towards him, and then climbed onto his knees to sit.
“Yes, please!” Sammie added with excitement as he sat on the floor besides his dad.
“Okay, but it’ll be different from the rest,” Grandpa said. “This time I’ll tell you a Christmas story…”
Grandpa cleared his throat and began. “It was a long time ago, a very long time ago on a starry night much like today’s actually.” He pointed out the window to the stars in the sky.
“Wow, there are lot of them in the sky tonight, Grandpa,” Sammie noted, gazing at the myriad of stars through the window.
“Yes, there are,” Grandpa agreed. “And there were lots of them on that night many years ago, shinning just as brightly as they could.” Sammie turned his attention back to his grandfather as he continued the story. “But one star shone more than the others, and that star caught the attention of three wise men. These men could read stars and tell a story about what each star meant. So on that night when the saw that star, they immediately knew that someone great had been born. It was the star that came out every time a king was born. The wise men made a decision to travel as far as they could until they found the new-born king. At that time, there was already a king in the country, and he felt threatened because a prophecy—that means something that’s told about the future—had said that another king would be born and would overthrow his rule. In their search for the baby king, the wise men met the old king, thinking the baby must have been born in the house of the king. But the king didn’t know about this new baby king, so he asked the wise men to find the baby and tell him where they found him so that he could also pay him a visit.
“Now, the wise men were going to obey the king, but as they continued on their journey God told them to do otherwise because the king’s real plan was to kill the baby king. The wise men searched throughout the entire country in hospitals, hotels, and homes... But they didn’t find the baby. So they continued to follow the star, and finally the star stopped over a little house. It was a farm house, a place where goats and sheep lived. That looked really weird to the wise men because they couldn’t imagine that a king could be born in such a place. Well, they entered and found the baby asleep in his mother’s arms. They bowed to the ground and worshipped the baby king, presenting him with lovely gifts. And that’s how the Christmas story began, with the birth of a baby king that grew up to be the savior of the world. The end.” Grandpa finished.
“Nice!” Sammie sounded excited.
“Do you know what’s so special about the Christmas story?” Sammie’s dad asked.
“The baby king was born!” Rita announced.
“Well, yes,” their dad agreed. “But more important is that it’s all about giving. The birth of the baby king itself is the gift of God to us living on Earth—so the baby would eventually bring us salvation and a new life in God.”
“And the wise men brought gifts to the baby king also,” Sammie added.
“Yes, they did.” Grandpa affirmed. “And that’s why we give gifts to the ones we love and others during the Christmas season.”
“Interesting…” said Sammie’s mom. “Sammie, for next year’s Christmas, while you’re making a long list of what you want everyone else to give you for Christmas, think about this story and make a long list of all the things you intend to give to others.”
“Okay, Mom” Sammie said with a smile. “Well, I can start this year by giving Rita that picture book she’s always wanted,” he added.
‘Hurray!” Rita squealed in delight.
“That’s the spirit!” Grandpa said. “Just make sure you keep it through the year and not just at Christmas.”
Sammie nodded. “Okay, Grandpa. I’ll remember that.”
Mom stood up from where she’d been sitting. “Time for bed, kids. Say goodnight to your dad and Grandpa,”
“Good night, Dad,” Rita said.
“Good night, Grandpa,” Sammie added.
“Good night, dears,” Grandpa said. “Merry Christmas!”
“Merry Christmas!” said Rita and Sammie, clambering up the stairs to bed.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16