Lights blinked casting their glows along the wall. Annabelle smiled. She believed the glow from the lights were created from a special paint. A special paint created only during Christmas.
To Annabelle, Christmas was more than a holiday. Christmas was magical. Christmas alone was Annabelle’s gift. And this gift was the one Annabelle cherished the most.
Warmth surrounded her. Her mother and father sharing her happiness. Wrapped within the security of her family, Annabelle had no fears of the world. Looking at the Christmas tree, while her family decorated around her, she could not be happier.
Until a few years passed. Annabelle reached an age special to most children. Big enough now to help decorate the tree. She could join in on some of the festivities the grown-ups were a part of.
Her eyes shined at the sparkly decorations. Mother told her soon she could decorate the tree, but she must wait till then. Keeping her hands to her sides, trying to stay patient, she grinned. She would be a good girl.
Annabelle hardly could contain her glee when Mother and Father told her it was time. Picking out a shiny cupcake ornament, she waited for her parents to tell her what to do. Father lifted her up high. He showed her how to slip the string of the ornament over the Christmas tree branch. Annabelle held her breath so she could place the ornament on the tree perfectly.
Father set her down on the floor and Mother showed her other choices of decorations.
Annabelle wanted to find the perfect ornament. She carefully took her time. Softly looking over each one till she found the right one. It was then Annabelle spotted a decoration with a little baby.
“Oh Mother! Here! This one! I found the perfect one,” Annabelle cried out happily.
Her mother’s eyes glistened with joy, “You certainly did Annabelle.” Her mother said softly, “You found the most special one.”
Looking up at her mother, “I did?” Annabelle asked. “Why is this one special?”
Annabelle took a glance back at the ornament. “Mother,” Annabelle said still looking at the decoration, “this is the only one with a baby.”
“You are right,” Mother agreed, “this is the only one with a baby.”
“So, is the baby special?” Annabelle asked.
Mother opened her arms and pulled Annabelle into her lap. Annabelle smiled. She knew Mother was about to tell her a story.
Mother picked up the ornament and gave it to Annabelle to look at.”Annabelle, you picked baby Jesus. He is indeed the most special baby you could have picked.”
Mother told Annabelle the story of baby Jesus. She talked about how baby Jesus’ parents had nowhere to go when they got to a place called Bethlehem. No hotels and no person would let them into their home. So his parents stayed in a barn.
“That’s where Jesus was born,” Mother told Annabelle.
Annabelle was sad for baby Jesus, “Was Jesus sad he was born in a barn,” she asked her mother.
Her mother smiled, “No Annabelle.” Mother kissed Annabelle’s head. “You see, Jesus grew up to be a very humble man.”
Annabelle held her mother’s hand, “What does humble mean,” she asked.
“Humble means Jesus was happy and thankful for wherever He was and for whatever He was given. Even if that meant He slept in a barn,” Mother answered.
Annabelle nodded. A few weeks ago, her family celebrated Thanksgiving. Her parents explained to her what it meant to be thankful. But still…
“I don’t know if I would still want to sleep in a barn,” Annabelle thought out loud. “But I do think I would like to be like Jesus.” She cradled the small baby in her hand. Annabelle was beginning to put a whole new meaning on why she cherished Christmas the most.
A small tear fell down her mother’s face as she hugged Annabelle. “Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
Annabelle smiled at her mother’s hug. “Mother, what does that mean?”
“It means you do not have to be the greatest or the most decorated person to be with Jesus.” Mother looked at the tree, “even small children, like you Annabelle, are just as important and special to Jesus.”
“Really!” Annabelle jumped up excitedly. But she stopped herself remembering the ornament needed to be handled carefully.
“Where would you like to put baby Jesus,” Father asked.
Annabelle took a breath. This was more important than the cupcake decoration. Immediately, she looked at the top of the tree. An angel was at the very top and beneath the angel were decorations like her cupcake. “Jesus would like the top,” she thought.
But then Annabelle began to notice something about the Christmas tree. The branches were all decorated beautifully. Most of them that is. It was the branches at the bottom of the tree that seemed bare.
Annabelle looked at baby Jesus and back at the lower branches. “It’s okay Father,” Annabelle said as she walked toward the tree.
Her parents stood together in surprise when Annabelle placed baby Jesus on one of the lowest branches of the Christmas tree.
“Annabelle?” Mother asked, “Why did you choose to put baby Jesus there?”
Annabelle turned around smiling. “Because Jesus is happy wherever He is. The branches aren’t decorated much here. But, I’m sure Jesus loves them anyway.”
Annabelle looked at the top of the tree, “And if Jesus was at the top, I wouldn’t see Him very well.”
She sat down in front of the tree watching baby Jesus. “I think Jesus would want me to be near Him. So He needs to be near me.”
“I think you’re right,” Mother smiled.
(Can’t get enough posts? Check out my second blog Peeking Beneath)