Madge Finds a Merry Christmas
Madge Curtiss strung the last bit of tinsel on the Christmas tree and stood for a moment to admire her afternoon’s work. Yes, it was a lovely tree, and Madge felt uneasy that she wasn’t happy about Christmas this year. But with her daughter Ruth in California, and John on a mission station in Africa, there just didn’t seem to be too much to be happy about.
After she had made a cup of tea, Madge sat in the front room alone with the memories of Christmas Days gone by. John’s family had been on furlough last year, and Ruth had brought her twins to enjoy the day with them.
Startled from her thoughts by the ringing of the bell, Madge arranged her hair and opened the side door.
“Would you like to buy a candle, madam? I made them myself.” Madge looked at the forlorn figure of the little girl before her.
“No! I have candles!” She was about to close the door when the enchantment of the Christmas Eve atmosphere came over her. “Tell me who you are, and where you live; and give me the biggest candle you have,” Madge urged.
“I’m Kristin Kuiper. I live on Rose Street. My mother makes dresses for ladies, and I’m so happy because it’s Christmas Eve. Aren’t you happy, madam?” She offered her the largest candle she had in her basket.
Before Madge realized what she was doing, she had brought the child in to see the tree.
“You must be so very happy!” the girl murmured over and over again as she gazed admiringly at the glowing loveliness of the tree.
Then Madge invited the child to share her Christmas Day. Of course, she could bring her mother and little sister!
Christmas Day was cold and bright, the kind of day for sleighing on the white countryside and skiing on the hills.
When the doorbell announced visitors, Madge was ready. Dinner was cooked, and gifts for the children were under the tree.
Mrs. Kuiper was radiant and could not express her thanks often enough.
“This country and the people here are so good to us,” she said. “We had no money for gifts this year, but we just got our citizenship papers, and the girls and I count them as our Christmas presents.
”As was her custom, Madge opened the family Bible and read the story of the first Christmas. She looked up to see tears in the eyes of the oldest guest.
“You know,” Mrs. Kuiper spoke slowly, “I found the way of living strange in this country. I found the customs different here, but one thing is the same. That is the Christmas story – the story of God’s Son being given as a Babe in a manger to become the Saviour of all who will accept Him. It is the same everywhere!”
Madge felt a new joy stir within her. She was no longer lonely. Through the words of her guest, she realized anew the true meaning of Christmas – the same in every land, in every home, and in every heart. Ruth would experience it in California, and John would feel it in faraway Africa. This joy and peace was spread abroad because a Babe was born – and He was her Saviour and her Friend.
Madge was happy! She had opened her heart to a merry Christmas.