We are late with this. And since I type so slowly, and it is a long one we will post it in 2 parts. We didn't have the $ to mail cards. 1 vs 3 dogs, we did not get a picture for an email, so we wrote a story instead. It is VERY loosely based on a story told to me by a very good friend that is a brave and rich person. She knows who she is. Hope you like it, as it totally went a different way than I thought it would go.
A Christmas Miracle
The casual observer would not have noticed a very small, speckled, skinny pup shivering in the straw of the manger in front of the small church It was Christmas Eve in a small European town about 5 years after the end of WWII.
The pup had lost his mom and 2 brothers to starvation. He was described by most as a mongrel, mutt, curdog. And others. The best he got was nondescript. In a town trying to recover from physical and emotional damage from the war, people were not inclined to share the food they could get their hands on. Not with some old curdog.
He had been kicked, cuffed about the head, had rocks thrown at him and been shot. (All before he was 8 weeks old) He was left with a limp, and cowered from any people he saw. He was very weak and getting into the straw of the church's manger had just about taken the last of his strength.
His mother had told him that normally, most people were kind. He had not seen evidence of that, but tried to believe. She had told him just before she had died, about the Miracles of Christmas.
"Son, there is one night each year when all the animals can speak and be understood."
"Mama, what do you mean? You and I understand each other just fine!"
"My boy, I mean everyone. Even the humans will understand you, and you will understand their words. This happens at midnight on Christmas Eve and lasts for only one hour, so use your time wisely."
"Hmmphh", he replied. "I can't imagine why I would want to talk to any of them. They have always treated us badly."
"It wasn't always this way, Digger." (She had begun to call him Digger since he had always tried to dig up food for them from old forgotton gardens. He had found an old shriveled potato once, and brought it straight to Mama. They feasted that night and ever after he was Digger.) "Before all the big booms and metal birds that dropped exploding eggs, before all the people began carrying fire sticks, almost all people were nice and kind. I had my own person, but he disappeared very suddenly. I tried to follow him, but I was not allowed."
Mama dog's eyes seemed to cloud over a bit, and she gave a very heavy sigh.
"Mama! Mama!" cried Digger. "Please don't leave me all alone!"
His mother gathered the last of her strength to tell him that he should go to the small church, find warmth in the manger straw, and since Christmas Eve was very close, wait there for his Miracle to happen.
"Mama, are you sure? I am so afraid to be alone. Without you. I am so scared of the people."
"Digger, I know if you will do as I say, someone will come to church Christmas Eve, will hear what you say and take you where you will be warm and full. A home for you, Digger. I know that will be your Christmas Miracle."
"But Mama" Digger suddenly stopped. He nudged his mama. She had quietly slipped away. He raised his little head and howled his grief to the Heavens. Then he snuggled up as close as he could to his Mama. Anyone passing by, had they looked, would have noticed the distinct similarity between Digger and his Mama. The speckled orange coat, the brown patch around the right eye and the white tipped tail left no doubt that Digger belonged to the Mama dog, now growing colder and colder.
Finally, Digger gave his Mama one last lick of goodbye. Then, because he always did as Mama said, he slowly began his journey to the church. He limped along slowly. Head and tail hung down. Of course, as he had expected every human he passed yelled at him to "GO AWAY!" A couple of rocks bounced off his skinny frame. But on he went as Mama had told him.
A few blocks away was a modest house that somehow had survived the war. A family of 3 happily lived there. Happily, because the soldier had come home from the war. He and his wife had a daughter about 9 months after he came home.
Even after going through many horrors of that war, including imprisonment, he felt very blessed. Blessed to have survived, blessed that he had a wife still alive when he made it home.
The little girl, around 5 years old at this time, was the apple of her parents' eye. They had named her Rose after her Mommy's favorite flower. They were not rich in the monetary sense, but they were very rich in the ways that really matter. At least that is what Daddy always told Rose.
"Daddy, why can't we have meat for dinner tonight?"
"Rose, I've explained to you before. The Good Lord has blessed us in so many ways. Just being here together is such a blessing. And your Mommy has made some wonderful soup tonight. We are not hungry."
"But Daddy, my friend, Hannah, has meat everyday, and they have cakes, and..."
"Rose. Don't you remember what I have always told you?"
Rose averted her eyes. She would never talk back because she had too much respect for her Daddy. But in her mind she was saying "blah,blah,blah. Who cares. I want meat everyday. I want cakes. I want toys. I want, I want."
What she actually said was, "Yes Daddy. I remember. You have always said the greatest treasure is love. Things are just things, but love is something money can't buy."
"Yes, Rose. I know you are young and you see some people that have much more than we do, yes?"
Rose replied, "Yes, Daddy. I do see them. Why not us? Why can't we have it all??"
Rose's Daddy chuckled. Rose loved hearing her Daddy laugh. It made her feel full of joy.
"Rose , honey, no one has it all. There are a few that seem to have it all, but no one knows how their lives are behind closed doors."
"Daddy. I don't understand what you mean."
Daddy pulled Rose up on his lap and she snuggled in close. Her Mommy had come into the parlor which was sparsely furnished, but felt very much like HOME to all 3 of them.
Daddy said, "Rose, sometimes things appear one way and may be another way altogether."
Rose's forehead furrowed, not understanding any more now than she had before. She saw her Mommy and Daddy look at each other and smile. Rose felt so safe with them.
"What I mean Rose, is while we do not have lots of money, lots of things and we live simply, we still have our needs met. A roof over our heads, enough food that we are not starving and most of all each other. The Lord has blessed us more than you know."
Rose smiled and waited for Daddy to continue. Mommy had put one hand on Daddy's shoulder and one on Rose's. Rose felt the love they all shared.
Daddy continued. "What I meant by we don't know what goes on behind closed doors is this. Some people do not have love in their hearts for mankind in general. Some do not think loving their families matters as much as what they can buy. Some have no faith at all, Rose. They are the poorest of all because they believe in nothing but things. Faith and love are much more important. Understand?"
Rose had listened and she did understand. She thought what it would be like not to have her love and faith. "Oh, Daddy, yes-I get it. I feel sorry for those poor people. We never know except for ourselves, right Daddy?"
Mommy and Daddy both laughed out loud. "To think some people don't have this" thought Rose.
Suddenly Mommy noticed the time. "Oh my! We must hurry! It is nearly time to start out for church. Have you forgotton, Rose? It's Christmas Eve!"
Rose had not forgotton. She had wanted a Christmas tree and had hoped for a gift. But now she scurried about to get ready to go. Rose never got to stay up this late. The service began at 11 PM and lasted one hour. She loved going, seeing the creche outside the church and singing all the carols.
To be continued...