A Baby for Christmas

For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 NLT

Rarely did Santa bring Mom what she wanted for Christmas, but this particular Christmas he did.

Mom and her sister grew up daughters of a dirt-poor farmer who attempted to eke out a living from the sandy soil near Vance, South Carolina. My granddaddy repeatedly reminded Mom and her sister how lean times were. But one Christmas was different.

Every Christmas, Mom’s family gathered with other families from the community and converged on Gerizim United Methodist Church to await Santa’s arrival. All the children sat on Santa’s bulging lap and told him what they wanted for Christmas.

Year after year, Mom’s Christmas wish was the same: a baby doll. All her friends had at least one. She couldn’t understand why her father couldn’t scrape together enough money to get her one too. 

“What’s your name little girl,” Santa whispered.

“Elsie.”

“And what would you like Santa to bring you for Christmas?” 

“I want a baby doll.”

“Have you been a good little girl?” Santa queried.

“Oh yes.”

Surely this would be the year Santa would grant the wish she had made so many times before. When the first rays of Christmas morning peeked through her bedroom window on Christmas morning, little Elsie jumped up and made her way to the Christmas tree. There it was. A box that seemed the right size for a baby doll, wrapped in paper a poor farmer’s wife would use.

She tore into the paper and could hardly believe what she saw. Santa had granted her wish. A beautiful small baby doll lay in the box. It was all she had ever wanted but never received. She couldn’t wait to play with it. Why not turn the box into a stroller, she imagined. And she did. After carefully cutting two holes in the box, she inserted a cord and instantly had a stroller. It was the only year Mom received a doll baby.

When Mom turned seventeen, she married my father—just prior to his being shipped overseas to Taiwan. Though Mom didn’t receive but one doll growing up, Daddy and all three of Mom’s boys made sure she had all she wanted later in her life. Daddy began the tradition of giving her a doll for Christmas every year, and the rest of us boys followed suit.

Mom is now a senior adult, but one thing she doesn’t lack is baby dolls. In fact, Mom has so many that one year no one gave her any. We figured she had enough—more than enough to make up for all the ones she never received growing up.

Just as one doll baby made a tremendous difference in my mother’s life, so did a real child who was born to Mary and Joseph. He brought joy to shepherds living in the fields, to wise men living afar, and to people worldwide.

Jesus’ birth has changed the lives of millions of people and continues to do so. He was God’s ultimate Christmas present to the world.

Never underestimate the potential of even the smallest of gifts. 

Martin Wiles

Martin lives in Greenwood, SC, and is the Managing Editor for Christian Devotions (www.christiandevotions.us), the Senior Editor for Inspire-a-Fire, and a Proof Editor for Courier Publishing. He is an author, English teacher, minister, and freelance editor. He is the founder of Love Lines from God and the author of six books, including his most recent, A Whisper in the Woods: Quiet Escapes for a Noisy World. He has also been published in numerous publications. He and his wife are parents of two and grandparents of three. He can be contacted at martinwileseditor@gmail.com.

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