This Week's Featured Stories

If you're looking for a laugh, a midday pick-me-up or a dose of inspiration, you'll love our featured stories. You can read three free stories every month by picking from the selection below or by searching through every Chicken Soup for the Soul story ever published using the box to the right. You can also have stories delivered right to your inbox with our free, featured story emails. If you'd like to have unlimited access and be able to choose the perfect story for any moment, sign up for a premium subscription and have the freedom to enjoy any of our 20,000+ stories any time!


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98: A Snowy Hospital Holiday

A Snowy Hospital Holiday And the child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was on Him. ~Luke 2:40 Christmas Eve 1955, I sat on the wide marble windowsill of my third floor hospital room in the Essex County Isolation Hospital. I looked longingly at the circular driveway leading up to the front entrance and let my tears flow freely. Not because the predicted snowfall turned into a major blizzard, but for me, a twelve-year-old girl diagnosed with tuberculosis, confined to six months of isolation and forced to swallow handfuls of pills. And because it was Christmastime and I wasn’t home. A white blanket of snow covered the hospital’s grounds and shiny ice coated the trees… a scene any photographer would describe as a perfect postcard picture. Who wouldn’t appreciate this wonderful winter Christmas gift from God? Me, that’s who. “God,” I prayed, “I’m really mad at You and not sure I like You much.” That was true. I wanted to be with my family, not in a hospital. I also had a slew of questions, which I didn’t hesitate to ask: “Why did you let my daddy die? Why did I have to get sick? Why am I stuck in this room? Nobody can come in but the nurses, and then they have to put... (more)
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99: The Returning Light

The Returning Light If we shall take the good we find, asking no questions, we shall have heaping measures. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson Every year, as soon as Halloween is over, our son Matthew waits for the lights. He’s been doing it for more than a dozen years. As the days grow shorter and the nights longer, as the temperatures drop and the leaves fall, he waits for the lights. He knows that they will come. The neighbors across the street always put up a beautiful and brilliant (and tasteful) light display for the holidays and Matthew loves to wait for them to be turned on, which usually happens right after Thanksgiving. But he begins his vigil a month before their arrival. And then, each day between Thanksgiving and until the lights are turned off after the new year, he waits, excitedly, from mid-afternoon on. Each day he’ll stand by the front windows or walk back and forth between the windows and the front door, in energetic and coiled anticipation, laser-focused, undeterred, intent on the moment of their nightly illumination. And when each evening’s moment comes, you don’t have to be right with him when that moment occurs. You know it no matter where you are in the house. The effervescent squealing. The rhythmic clapping. The dancing around the house, the... (more)
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100: The Secret of the Cedar Chest

The Secret of the Cedar Chest Good as it is to inherit a library, it is better to collect one. ~Augustine Birrell For many years I’ve kept my guilt regarding the cedar chest a secret. I felt deeply ashamed of the lack of self-control that led to my infamous behaviour. However, this Christmas I’ve decided enough time has elapsed (the statute of limitations on such crimes must have expired) that I can now confess. To begin, I must admit to being an incurable bookaholic. I always have been. In fact, one of my earliest memories is of standing behind my mother as she washed the lunch dishes at the kitchen sink, a book in one hand, pulling on her apron strings with the other as I begged her to read, “just one chapter, please, just one chapter.” My mother contributed to my addiction. I cannot recall her ever refusing to leave the sudsy pan, dry her hands, and follow me to the living room. There, we’d curl up together and while away the afternoon, deep in our love for the printed word. A devoted amateur actress, she read with passionate expression. Carried away on the wings of her words, I would listen mesmerized. The books I remember best from those days were the works of Thornton W. Burgess. My favourite among his bevy of loquacious animals was Reddy Fox... (more)
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101: Gifts

Gifts The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away. ~Pablo Picasso I was in fifth grade when my father broke his hip and femur in several places. He had slipped on the morning dew while splitting wood in the back yard. The freak accident was devastating and it would take a considerable amount of time and many surgeries for my father to recover. At the time, my father had just switched employers and our family didn’t have any medical or disability benefits. So Mom became the single breadwinner supporting our family of five. She had significant health issues herself and was in and out of the hospital. Further complicating our situation was the fact that the fixer-upper, old farmhouse we were living in was not insulated. I often found myself staring at pretty patterns of ice etched on the inside of the windows. I would use my fingernail to write my name and draw hearts in the ice. We stuffed old socks in every hole to block the cold, and we huddled in the kitchen next to the stove when Mom was cooking, as it was the only source of heat in that part of the house. My dad stayed in a hospital bed in our living room, so we put blankets across the entranceway and heated only that room to conserve money. In the cold of an upstate New York winter... (more)