Chicken Soup for the Soul Christmas

Chicken Soup for the Soul Christmas by Jack Canfield Read Free Book Online Page A

Book: Chicken Soup for the Soul Christmas by Jack Canfield Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jack Canfield
had visitors and thanked us.
    Then it happened—my daughter really caught me off guard. As she went to hug George good-bye, she held up her Beanie Baby and said, “You can have him.” I found myself wanting to leap forward and say, “No, you don’t have to . . .” but I was frozen in my tracks. George bent down and took it from her with a smile and a hug. I was stunned. My mind was trying to comprehend what I had just witnessed. My eight-year-old daughter had just shown me Christ in action. Her love and compassion were a natural and immediate manifestation of her love and obedience. What self-sacrifice! I could only hope and pray to love and give so willingly.
    As we made our way to my truck, I turned and looked back at George. Burned into my mind forever would be the memory of a bent-over old man, who had just been touched by God through the heart of a little child, shuffling back to his confinement and clutching a little smiley-faced Beanie Baby.
    My vision was blurred from watery eyes as I told my daughter how much I loved her and how proud I was of her. “You just made God smile!”
    Lane Clayton as told to Joan Clayton

A Little Angel’s Big Prayer
    W hile we try to teach our children all about
life, our children teach us what life is all about.
    When I heard my father’s voice on our answering machine that day six years ago, I knew instantly why he was calling. He is far too deaf to use a phone anymore. It had to mean that my mother had died.
    And she had, quite suddenly. The demands of organizing the funeral pushed us through the next days, held up by a chain of prayer with links all over the world. Her recent illness meant that, despite the pain of our loss, this really was her Lord’s reprieve. My sister and I both felt this, which made my mother feel very close to us.
    But my father seemed encased in a mountain of ice, moving through the hours in sad-faced silence. Her near-constant companion for sixty years, he couldn’t visualize life without her—and didn’t seem to want to try.
    I was relieved when he accepted my offer to stay on with him for a week after every one else had left. But, eventually, I had to return home, too. He lasted six days on his own, then collapsed. My sister brought him back to her new home, midway between his Florida one and mine in New Hampshire. He was admitted to a nearby hospital for surgery, and for the second time in three weeks, I boarded a plane on short notice.
    I was appalled when I saw him. My sister and I knew that, regardless of his illness, he was really fighting to find the will to live—and might not succeed. My prayers begged God to sustain him, to help him feel God’s love, as well as ours. But as Dad became increasingly unresponsive, my heart sank more heavily than ever.
    On Christmas Eve, I asked God to help me do what I could, surrender to him what I couldn’t, and trust that he held Dad in his loving hands, whatever the outcome.
    I forced myself to go to the hospital the next morning, where I was astonished to see Dad sitting up. Though he’d been immobile in bed for nearly two weeks, he had taken not one, but two walks that morning, the nurse told me.
    His eyes were very bright when I arrived. “Hon, I’ve got to get out of here,” he said. “Your mother sent a little angel last night, who told me that’s what God wants me to do— get up and go on with my life.”
    As if to test his sincerity, circumstances prevented his discharge on the holiday, which meant I had a chance to learn more about that “little angel” when a friend called to wish me a happy Christmas.
    A treasured prayer companion, she has an admirable godmother’s relationship with her five-year-old nephew.
    She takes her duty to champion his spiritual life very seriously, and they talk together about God all the time.
    â€œTristan was here Sunday,” she said. “We found a

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