“Why do you have those red shoes on your tree?” a little friend asked me. She pointed to the felt shoes that hang at the front of my tree.
“Ah…that is a wonderful story,” I said, “and it began many years ago. Would you like to hear it?”
Her dark brown eyes twinkled as she squealed. “Tell it! Tell it, please!”
So I sat down with her and began to explain why the little red booties hang on my tree. “Many years ago, a young lady and a man were married. They worked hard and saved their money and then wanted to start a family. But even though they tried and tried and tried, no baby came to live in their house.
“One year, at Christmas time, the lady thought she was going to have a baby. So she planned how she would tell her parents at Christmas with a pretty package and a note inside. She could barely contain her excitement.
“But then the doctor said she would not have a baby, so her Christmas that year was very sad.”
“Years and years passed by with no baby and many sad Christmases. But six years later, the lady was finally pregnant and was so excited. All the friends and family of the couple were excited to celebrate this coming child, but the baby died before it could grow to full size inside the lady. Everybody cried for a long time.
“Two years later, the lady again was pregnant and the same people celebrated with the lady and her husband. But again, the baby died before it could grow. Again, everybody cried – especially the lady. She decided she would probably never hold her own baby but she would teach everybody’s else’s children how to play the piano and try to be happy for all the people who had the blessing of babies.
“Then two years later, a miracle happened. The lady and the man welcomed their baby, a fully-developed and beautiful boy who was born on the coldest day of that November during a sleet storm. The tiny baby was such a wonderful present for Christmas that the lady bought special red booties for him to wear to church.”
“I like that story,” my little friend said, “and you were the lady in the story, weren’t you?”
“Yes, and the baby is my son, Caleb.”
My little friend pondered a while and then asked, “So you put the little booties on the tree every year, to remind you of that baby — your Caleb?”
“Yes, and those booties also remind me of another baby. He probably didn’t have any booties to wear, but his mother and father dearly loved him. He arrived as a special miracle, too, and that’s the real reason we celebrate Christmas. Baby Jesus came to remind us that God loves us and wants to give us eternal life.
“So that’s the story of the red booties, but the real story goes on. For each person who believes in baby Jesus and accepts the love of God, new stories begin. Stories of love and purpose as people realize Christmas is all about the wonderful gift of life and the miracles that God does inside our hearts.”
©2013 RJ Thesman – “The Unraveling of Reverend G” – http://amzn.to/11QATC1