The Perfect Gift

By Julia Rose Magyar

Works Cited: 2102

Rating: G

Summary: A little girl’s Christmas Wish leads to an important lesson.

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Image Credit: Danny Hahlbohm

It was almost Christmas time in the town of Happy Meadows. The town was in great preparation, decorating shop windows, and hanging wreaths and garlands on their doors. But in one house, a twelve-year-old girl sat curled up in a window seat. She watched the gentle snow as it fell to the ground. She touched the glass softly, leaving behind a frosted handprint. The child stared at it for a moment, gazing at it intently with her head tilted. Then, lifting her hand to the glass once more, she drew a perfect snowman and sat back on her heels, smiling as she admired her work.

Her mother, who was setting the table for supper, now looked over at her daughter and smiled affectionately.

Here was a child who had everything: a loving family—an older sister and a younger brother, a mother and father—a warm house, and beautiful clothes. Yes, she had everything she could possibly want or need, and yet she had never spoken a word.

Now, there was absolutely nothing wrong with this child. She could speak anytime she wanted to, only she chose not to. She was happy and content.

“Amelia,” her mother called. “It’s almost time for supper, dear.”

Amelia obediently got up from the window and went to the table.

“Flora! David! Dinner’s on the table!” their father, Julius, called up the stairs.

Flora, who was fourteen, and David, who was nine, came rushing down.

“Do you have your letters ready for Santa Claus?” Julius asked when they were seated at the table.

“I always have mine ready,” Amelia thought.

“I have mine upstairs, but I still have to help David write his,” Flora said. “He hasn’t made up his mind about what to ask for.”

“I thought you were going to ask Santa for a new pair of ice skates,” said their mother, Virginia.

“Everybody asks for those,” David replied. “I want to ask for something really different, something no one else would think to ask for.”

“How about a trip to the North Pole? That’s different,” Flora said teasingly.

“That’s enough, now. I don’t want any fighting at the table,” said Julius.

The two stopped and ate their dinner quietly.

Julius then turned to Amelia and said, “Now, my dear, what did you ask Santa Claus for this year?”

Amelia smiled and put her finger to her lips, meaning it was a secret.

Her father nodded and mouthed, “Oh!” Then aloud, he said, “You better finish those letters tonight, Flora, because I’m going into town tomorrow to do some last minute Christmas shopping. I’ll take them with me and drop them off at the post office.”

Flora and David quickly ate their dinner and hurried upstairs.

Amelia went over to her father and pulled at his sleeve as he stood up.

“What is it, Amelia?” he asked.

She reached into the pocket on her pinafore and pulled out a neatly addressed envelope.

“Oh, I see,” he said, taking it from her. “This is your letter to Santa Claus?”

The girl smiled and nodded.

Julius laughed and put it away, then told her to go help her mother with the dishes. Amelia ran off to the kitchen and, although Virginia chattered gaily, her little daughter only smiled and said nothing.

Amelia admired her family very much. Her father was quite tall at nearly six-foot-four inches. He had brown eyes and dark curly hair. Her mother had flowing, red curly hair and bright blue eyes. Flora, the oldest child at fourteen, had straight brown hair. Her eyes were blue, like her mother’s, and although she was a good person, she often cared too much about her looks. David, the youngest in the family, was as annoying as any nine-year-old could be. He had dark, curly hair like his father, and mischievous blue-grey eyes that always gleamed when he was up to something.

Amelia herself, the middle child, was quite tall at five-foot-six inches. She had long red hair that hung down her back. She kept it tied in the middle with a yellow ribbon and let the other half hang loosely. She had beautiful green eyes that sparkled happily all the time.  

Right now, Virginia and Amelia had just finished in the kitchen, and Virginia sent the young girl to bed, as it was getting rather late.

The next morning, Julius rode into town on horseback. His first stop was the post office to mail those letters. Little did he dream that one of those letters would bring a Christmas someone would never forget.

~~~~~~

“Santa, listen to this one. It’s from a twelve-year-old named Amelia, from Happy Meadows,” said an elf.

“Oh, yes, I remember her. The silent child. Heart of gold, that child has. What does she say?” Santa asked.

The elf, Malcolm, cleared his throat and began.

“Dear Santa Claus:

Every year, my family tries to pick out the perfect gift for each

of us, and it usually is. But, Santa, what really is the perfect

gift? Is it one that we can all love and share?

                                                                     Your Friend,

                                                                               Amelia”

 

Santa chuckled quietly and thought, “So, little Amelia wants to know what the Perfect Gift is. I guess there’s only one way to answer that question. I will have to show her.”

Santa took the letter and read it over to himself, fingering it with care. That night, at dinner, he read the letter aloud and told of his plan.

“You’re going to risk keeping your identity a secret!” an elf cried.

“She won’t tell anyone.” Turning to his wife, Santa asked, “What do you think, Jessica?”

“I think it’s a splendid idea,” she replied. “Besides, Amelia’s such a sweet child, and her family’s been so good to her.” Looking toward the window, she added, “But you’d better hurry, dear. It’s Christmas Eve, and almost time for your mission.”

Santa quickly got up and went outside, where his sleigh was waiting. His big red sack was in the back seat, the reindeer hitched up in front. He climbed up and took the reins from Sally, the head elf. He called each reindeer by name and took off into the air. Every year, as he went around the world, the sights amazed him. He found that something new had always been added to a city, town, or village.

He had just finished making his rounds and now turned his sleigh around.

“Santa, sir, you’re going the wrong way,” Sally said. “The North Pole is in the other direction.”

“I know. That’s because we aren’t going back to the North Pole, not just yet. There’s one stop left. I promised Amelia something special, and what kind of person would I be if I didn’t keep my promises?” he asked, turning to look at her.

Sally stared at her friend in utter shock. “Why, if you made a promise and didn’t keep it, you… you wouldn’t be Santa!”

“That’s right, Sally, which is why I have to go to Amelia. She wants to know what the Perfect Christmas Gift is, so I am going to show her.”

The rest of the ride passed in complete silence. Finally, Santa reached the town of Happy Meadows and landed on the rooftop of Amelia’s house. He wiggled down the chimney and headed first to the kitchen for the milk and cookies the children always left for him. Then, he put the presents under the brightly lit tree and made his way noiselessly up the stairs to Amelia’s room.

Santa quietly closed the bedroom door and gently shook her until she stirred. The child rose sleepily and rubbed her eyes, yawning and stretching. Then, when she saw who had woken her, her face lit up with great joy.

“Amelia, is this your letter?” Santa whispered, taking it out of his pocket and showing it to her.

Amelia knit her brow and read it, then broke into a grin. She looked up at Santa and spoke her first words!

“Yes, Santa, this is mine,” she replied.

“Would you like to see what the Perfect Gift is?”

“You mean, there really is one?” she asked in an excited whisper.

“Oh, of course there is, child,” Santa said. “Would you like to come with me and see?”

“Oh, yes!” Amelia said, but then her face clouded with sadness as she added, “What about Mother? She’ll be worried about me.”

Santa chuckled softly and said, “Don’t worry about your mother, dear. I’m sure she’ll understand.”

Amelia knew better than to doubt the word of Santa Claus, and climbed out her window and onto the roof with him. He helped her into the sleigh and introduced her to Sally. Then, calling the reindeer by name, they flew off into the night.

“Do you see that big star right there?” Santa asked, pointing.

“Yes! I know that star! That’s the one Mother and Father call the North Star!”

“That’s right. Now watch what happens when we get closer.” He shifted the sleigh toward the star, following it.

“It’s growing brighter!” Amelia cried.

“Yes. Now look below and see where it’s resting.”

She leaned over the sleigh railing and said, “It looks like it’s hovering over a barn, or stable.”

Santa smiled and lowered the sleigh to the earth. He landed just outside of a town and lifted Amelia out of the sleigh, telling Sally to stay there.

“Where are we?” the young girl asked as he led her through the town.  

“We’re in the Little Town of Bethlehem,” he replied.

They stopped in front of the stable, where many, many people were gathered. Santa led her to the entrance and gently pushed her in front of him.

“Do you see the Child in the manger?” he asked.

“Yes. Look at the light! It shines around Him everywhere!” she said, gasping with awe and wonder.

Santa bent down on one knee and whispered quietly, “That’s because this Child is the Light of the World. He has come to save the entire world. He loves and cares for everyone. This little Child is the King of all Kings. He is Little King Jesus Christ.”

Amelia gazed upon the little King, then turned to Santa with tears in her eyes, saying, “If Jesus is a King, then He deserves a present. A gift. But I have nothing to give him.”

Santa, who was by now standing, said to her, “Give Him your love. That’s all King Jesus asks for. To be loved.”

Amelia looked at her friend once more, then turned and slowly made her way through the crowd. As she approached the small Babe and His parents, Mary and Joseph, she held out her hands to show that they were empty. Then, reaching into her pocket, Amelia pulled out a small gold coin and a red paper heart. She placed both in the manger and knelt down next to it, folding her hands and closing her eyes in prayer.

A few moments later, as she rose to leave, the Child Jesus pulled some straw out from behind His little Head and held it out to her.

Amelia gasped in surprise. She looked up at Mary and Joseph, who both smiled and nodded. She knew then that this was Jesus’ way of showing her that He had accepted her gift.

Amelia ran back to Santa Claus, full of warmth and happiness. She showed Santa the gift that Jesus had given her, and even he agreed that it was Jesus’ little Way of saying thank you.

They went back to the sleigh and Santa took her home, then went back to the North Pole.

~~~~~~

The next morning, everyone ran down to open the presents they’d been given. But there was nothing for Amelia.

She surprised them all by saying aloud, “That’s all right, because I’ve already seen the Perfect Gift.”

The family rejoiced that Amelia had finally spoken, but no one but her mother understood what she meant. Virginia knew that Amelia had gone somewhere the night before, even though she hadn’t been told. Virginia also knew who her young daughter had been with, because she knew there was a real Santa Claus, and that he was capable of making many magical things happen.

That night, after Christmas dinner, Amelia and her mother were sitting together at the window, looking out at the starry sky.

“Mother?” she said. “There really is a Santa Claus, isn’t there?”

Virginia smiled, and repeated to her daughter the very words she had been told many years ago. “Yes, Amelia, there really is a Santa Claus.”

 

 

The End



 

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