This is actually from a story I am writing and posting online. However, this chapter also works as a stand alone because it is a flashback.
Please forgive me if the formatting is off because I copied and pasted it from my other site!
Merry Christmas everyone! KPL
Louise, an inquisitive five year old, examines the living room for all things Christmas related. The room is full of items; candlesticks on every table, strings of garland around all the windows, Santa and snowman figurines on any extra spot on a flat surface, it was quite a wonderful Christmas sight. The small Christmas tree sat in the corner by the fireplace and was covered in handmade ornaments, a tin foil star on top, and an old sheet underneath for a skirt. Above Louise’s stocking on the mantel was her mom’s most cherished Christmas piece, a large Nativity scene. Louise pushed a dining table chair over to the mantel and stood on it to get a better look.
The set looked like dolls that someone had made out of hard concrete instead of something soft. All of the people were wearing what looked like different colored sheets wrapped around themselves instead of real clothes. Louise found baby Jesus in what her mom called a manger. She reached in to pick him up.
“Hold it right there!” came her mom’s voice from the kitchen. “You are not supposed to climb on chairs, and you are not supposed to touch the Nativity.”
“Aw, Mom, I wasn’t going to break it. I just wanted to see the baby.” Louise climbed down from the chair and gave her mom her best please-do-not-spank-me look that she could muster up.
Evelyn laughed and wiped her hands on a dish towel. Laying the towel on the counter in the kitchen she came into the living room with Louise. “Honey, if you want to see Jesus, I can tell you about him.” She picked up the baby out of the manger. “But honey, just remember, this figurine is just that, a decoration. It reminds us of Jesus and that is good, but Jesus doesn’t live in this figurine, he lives in the hearts of those who love him and in heaven with God, his Father.”
Evelyn sat on the couch and Louise climbed into her lap. “So is he like Santa, Momma? Some kids at school told me Santa is only real to the kids who believe he is real.”
“Oh, no baby, not like that at all,” replied her mom, with a concerned look on her face. “You see, where those kids think they have to believe in Santa to make him real, Jesus is always real whether we believe in him or not. But he is also a gentleman, and he will not come to live in our hearts unless we let him. He knocks on our door, but we have to let him in.”
“Oh, ok,” said Louise, but she still had a very confused look on her small features.
“I’ll tell you what,” said Evelyn as she wrapped her arms around Louise, “why don’t I tell you the Nativity story?”
“I already know that, Mom,” replied Louise. “Jesus was born in a barn and slept in the hay. Boring!” She concluded her little spell with a fake yawn to drive home the point.
“Honey, if you think that Jesus was just another human baby, then yes, his birth would not be the most impressive story you have ever heard. But do you know why he was special? Why him? Who is his dad? Why his mom? Why he had to be born in Bethlehem and no where else?”
“No, I don’t guess I know that part. Why was he so special, Momma?”
Evelyn curled her daughter up snug in her arms. The soup she was preparing for supper would have to wait on the stove. This subject was just too important.
“I’ll tell it to you, just like it says in the Bible, because I’ve read the story so much I feel like I know it by heart,” began Evelyn, twirling her daughter’s hair around her finger. “Do you remember the story of Adam and Eve?”
“Yes, Momma,” giggled Louise, “but I’m pretty sure that Mary and Joseph were Jesus’ parents, not Adam and Eve!”
“That is true, Louise. Adam and Eve were not Jesus’ parents, but that is where and when everything began. You see, God made Adam and Eve and made a perfect garden for them to live in forever. There was only one rule; they were not allowed to eat from just one of the trees in the garden. One day the serpent, who was really Satan in disguise, tricked Eve into eating from the tree, and she got Adam to eat from it too! It was awful; this was the very first sin.”
“What is a sin, Momma?”
“Well, sin is when you do something that you know God does not want you to do, and you do it anyway. Kind of like when you know you aren’t supposed to climb on chairs and you do it anyway…..” Louise looked up with a sheepish grin. Her mother continued, “Adam and Eve hid from God because they knew they had done something wrong. As punishment God told them that they had to leave the garden and make their own home and find their own food. But the worst part about it was that sin entered into the human race. From that day on, every person would sin, and God is so Holy that he can not tolerate sin. It totally separated us from Him, even though he wanted to have a relationship with us, and we need to have one with Him. To fix this, God came up with a wonderful plan. A way that we could fellowship with God again and something that could take our sins away from us. God would send his Son, and his son would never ever sin, and his son would help us get back to God.”
“God’s son, that’s what they call Jesus!” exclaimed Louise. Then her face scrunched up, like she was deep in thought. “Momma, I thought that Joseph was his daddy? That just doesn’t make sense. You can’t have two dads.”
“You’re getting ahead of me, you little jitterbug,” laughed her mom. “Now that I told you WHY Jesus had to come, to bring us back to God, let me tell you HOW.” She pulled a blanket off the floor beside the couch and wrapped it around both of them.
“Everyone waited for what seemed like forever for God to send the person to save his people. Even though God told prophets for years where and how to find the savior most of them misunderstood and were looking in the wrong places, or for the wrong person.
“Mary was a young lady, but the Bible says that she loved the Lord. God sent Gabriel, an angel, to tell her that even though she was not married, she would have a son and that she should name him Jesus because he would be God’s son, and the Savior everyone had been waiting for! Gabriel told her that God would be the baby’s daddy, but that he still wanted Joseph to help raise Jesus so that he would have a daddy on earth also. This is why you were confused about who Jesus’ daddy was.”
Louise just smiled and listened.
“Anyway, all of the prophesies God told said Jesus would be born in Bethlehem. Right before Mary had Jesus they had to travel to Bethlehem to be counted for the Roman government. There were so many people staying in Bethlehem that by the time Mary and Joseph got there no hotels had any rooms left for anyone. Traveling for so many days on a donkey was not easy and Mary was about to have the baby! The best place they could find for her to have a little privacy was a stable, and after Jesus was born Mary wrapped him and placed him in a manger, which is really just a fancy word for a feeding trough.”
“Momma,” Louise piped up, “that doesn’t sound like where God’s son should be born. Why didn’t she go to the hospital? It would be all icky in a barn, er, uh, I mean in a stable.”
“Well, baby, back then they didn’t really have hospitals like they do today. Everything happened exactly like God told them all it would, many years before it actually happened.’
“Is that it?” Louise inquired.
“Not exactly, and I think you’ll like this next part. Suddenly, an angel appeared to some shepherds and told them where to find Jesus, and that this little baby would be the Savior they had been waiting for! Then a lot of other angels joined him and began praising God. Don’t you think that would be an exciting thing to see?”
“Yeah, it would be nice. But? Well, nevermind,” Louise turned to get down out of her mom’s lap.
“What is it, Louise?”
“Well, Mom, how do we know it’s true? If we didn’t see it, how do we know? It sounds like a fairy tale.”
“Louise, it isn’t true because we believe it, we believe it because it is true. When Jesus knocks on your heart, you’ll know. Until then all you can do is learn everything you can so that when the time comes, you will know what to do.” Silently her mom sent up a prayer for her daughter. Watching her struggle and waver between accepting Jesus or rejecting him was the hardest thing she had ever done.
Trying to change the subject, her mother remembered her soup. “Come on there kiddo, we need to finish our soup and if we have enough time left we can make Christmas cookies!”
“Alright!” shouted Louise as she ran off into the kitchen.
Evelyn placed baby Jesus back into the manger.