48. Our First Noel

48. Our First Noel

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Merry Christmas!

Our First Noel

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.

~Charles Dickens

“We’ll be home all day on Christmas if you need us!” When there’s a pastor in the family, you tend to stay home for Christmas — at least that was true for our family. After topping off a very busy Advent season with two Christmas Eve services, my husband was not in any shape to travel on Christmas Day. Knowing that Mary’s baby was due on December 25th and that she didn’t have any family in the area, I threw the offer out there, pretty confident that my services wouldn’t be needed. I mean, how many babies are actually born on their due date?

Mary said, “Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind,” and to be honest with you, I really didn’t. Keep it in mind, I mean. Christmas morning dawned bright and clear. Our two kids woke us up well before dawn, and gifts and breakfast were all done by 7:00 a.m. The Little Tykes dollhouse and new action figures were a huge hit with the kids, as I knew they would be. We were lounging in our PJs and robes, watching them play, when the telephone rang. I picked it up, fully expecting to hear my mom or sister on the other end wishing us a Merry Christmas. But instead I heard a man’s voice, “I’m sorry to have to ask this on Christmas Day, but we don’t know who else we can ask. Remember that offer you made a few weeks back?” Mary’s husband sounded a bit sheepish.

“Bring them right over!” I exclaimed, “No problem!”

Within a few minutes there were three sleepy children clambering up our front steps, and a harried dad quickly passed a diaper bag to me and headed off to take Mary to the hospital. Sometimes kids can be hesitant to share their brand-new toys — but not ours that day. I saw their hearts open wide to welcome the children in. The new dollhouse, new action figures — everything was shared generously with our young visitors.

The kids had Christmas dinner with us, and then supper. I was just starting to figure out the sleeping arrangements when the phone rang again — the baby had been born, a little girl, and her name was Noelle. Dad would be by soon to pick up the kids.

We always remembered that Christmas Day as particularly special. I realized how special it was to our kids when the dolls in the dollhouse were permanently named for the three children who spent that Christmas Day with us. And the tiny baby doll? She was named Noelle, of course!

~Laurie Carnright Edwards

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