Theodore wondered why he was given such a long name. He liked ‚Ted.‚ It sounded more grown up for a seven year old.
When his mother was upset with him, she yelled, ‚TEDDY!‚
Today was Christmas Eve, but it didn‚t seem to be special anymore. After all, Ted was an only child. So getting a stack of presents was no big deal.
He already had every kind of gift. Stuffed animals were his favorite. The first one he received from mom and dad was a teddy bear.
That‚s all he wanted.
Then each birthday and Christmas he received stuffed toys in all shapes and sizes. Now his room was like a tumbling waterfall of stuffed toys.
It was funny seeing gifts all over the floor, on his dresser, hanging from the ceiling. And stacked up in his closet.
Stuffed bunnies, deer, bears, owls, and squirrels stared at each other like a sky full of stars.
Each day he tripped over his ‚Stuffies.‚ When Ted wanted to play a game he lined them up as bowling pins. Imagine a bowling alley right in his house.
Mom, dad and Theodore even played games of ‚toy-ball.‚ Instead of throwing snowballs, they threw stuffed animals at each other.
Another Christmas was coming quickly as a sleigh ride.
As usual, Ted would soon be opening a truckload of gifts. Some would be not only from his parents, but from aunts, uncles, even Santa. Not one would come from any of his friends, because he had none.
Theodore thought he had everything he needed. A mom, dad and lots of fancy clothes and toys. At school they said he was a spoiled little kid.
‚They‚re just envious,‚ his mom said.
But Ted wished he had one true friend. And not just come to visit and see the expensive gifts he received for Christmas. Or eat from all his boxes of candy
Today was passing so slowly. Would Santa bring something special?
‚Teddy,‚ his mom scolded. ‚The day before Christmas is supposed to be a happy time. Now please try to smile.‚
‚Yes,‚ his dad added. ‚Try to smile. Like this.‚ Then he made up all kinds of ridiculous faces. But he couldn‚t make his son laugh.
Huge snowflakes fell and lay in piles like a field of marshmallows.
But all Theodore could think of over the Christmas Holidays was the same old story. No friends, nothing to do, except open up a mountain of gifts, from under the tree. And probably get more stuffed animals.
Perhaps this year they‚ll only be different colors and sizes.
Christmas Eve supper was pork chops and potatoes, with a tiny pile of peas and corn. ‚Why do kids have to eat peas anyway?‚ he asked.
‚Well,‚ mom answered, ‚many children have no vegetables. Some have very little food and not even‚‚
‚‚Presents for Christmas!‚ Theodore interrupted rudely. It wasn‚t his fault dad had a good paying job. Or, that they lived in a huge house with a whole field of beautiful trees in their backyard.
‚But no one to come and play with me,‚ he said in a silent whisper.
Soon Theodore‚s yawning reminded him it was bedtime. His parents tucked him in, kissed him goodnight and left silently.
The night-light was like a friend that cast shadows on the wall.
Unable to sleep, Theodore pulled back his blankets and stepped onto the cold floor. He leaned on his windowsill and looked up at the stars. They were like fireflies in the night.
He remembered ‚blinking‚ fireflies the time his family camped this past summer. But tonight bright lights in the sky looked lonely, like him.
Then floppy snowflakes began to fall.
And something moved by the swings. ‚It‚looks like a little kitten,‚ Theodore said softly to himself. Now where did he come from?
The poor creature couldn‚t stay outside in this weather, he might freeze. Oh, a cat was the only pet he ever wanted. His parents always said, ‚No pets in this house. Their hair will get all over the furniture.‚
Theodore had to help. Everything was silent. His parents must be asleep.
He tiptoed downstairs, planning to let the kitten in. Maybe feed it some milk. Then let the cat out in the morning before mom and dad got up.
‚SSSH. Quiet,‚ He said to the creaking stairs. ‚You‚ll wake up the whole town,‚ he snickered.
As the door swung open, a huge draft of snow rushed at him. And meowing could barely be heard from under the swing set. Snow continued to pile up.
Theodore retreated to the closet and slipped on a pair of dad‚s winter boots. Now the boy‚s bare feet were warmer.
In the darkness, he could not find his jacket. So he ended up wrapping mom‚s coat around his shoulders. ‚Here I come, kitty,‚ he promised.
Each carefully placed foot left a deep space in the snow. It seemed as if the swing set was farther from the house than Theodore thought. But it was worth continuing on his rescue mission.
The kitten was unable to jump above the deepening snow. And was very happy someone cared enough to come get him in this terrible weather.
Picking up the little bundle, Theodore returned to the house. But it was not so simple since his tracks were now covered over. And he couldn‚t see properly since the wind blew snow fiercely at him.
The little kitten shook with cold. And Theodore felt chills race up and down his own arms. Finally he reached the door, only to find it wouldn‚t open.
‚Oh no, it must have locked behind me,‚ he moaned.
What to do now? The snow pelted him and the little kitten. He banged on the door, but no one heard. The wind was too loud for his parents to hear. Cold seemed to cover him like a snow bank.
From the corner of his eye, he saw a shape moving through the snowy night. Coming closer he could see it was someone dressed in a red suit. And he was sure he could hear, ‚Ho! Ho! Ho!‚ even in the wind.
Was it really Santa? Could it be he?
Ted felt himself being lifted, then carried. He held his rescued kitten close to his chest. It all seemed like a pleasant dream as his eyes closed.
Tingling in his feet and hands disappeared as warmth returned to his body. It moved from the hairs on his head to the tips of his little toes. And he sensed the same thing was happening to the little kitten.
The next thing he remembered was mom and dad shaking him.
‚Wake up Ted! Wake up!‚ his parents said.
He blinked his eyes, and saw the kitten in a cozy ball under his arm.
‚Where did you find him?‚ mom gasped.
‚May I keep him, please?‚ Theodore pleaded.
‚The kitten was supposed to be one of your Christmas presents,‚ dad said. ‚We felt badly he got away as we returned from the pet shop. And now he‚s here.‚
Huge hugs disturbed the kitten‚s sleep. But then he didn‚t mind. After all, he was sure this was to be his new home.
In a short while everyone sat in front of the tree. A mountain of gifts was waiting for Theodore. But they didn‚t seem very important right now. He looked at all the decorations, Christmas cards, and colored lights.
Then he took a deep breath and told them about what happened.
‚Thank you Santa,‚ was a special greeting from them to the Man in Red.
Then everyone got properly dressed for the winter day, since mom and dad really liked their son‚s idea. Theodore held his head high as he pulled his wagon full of presents, heading down the street.
He knocked on doors giving away each gift to a child. After all, Ted had everything he needed, a great mom and dad. And a kitten, he now called Lucky.
This was definitely the best Christmas ever!
* * *
¬ Richard & Esther Provencher
My wife, Esther and I really enjoy writing. It is an excellent salve, in addition to prayers, a great wife and family during my continuing recovery from a stroke/aneurysm. You can contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org re comments on our work. We live in Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada. Pray for others.