The “Spiritually Speaking” commentary in the Eden Prairie News was written by Father Tim Power this week. Its title was “Revisiting classic stories at Christmas time”. He writes of the classic stories he enjoys to re-read this time of year. You click on the title for the link to the entire commentary, but I thought I’d copy the last story he told in its entirety. It is a great story to lift your spirits this time of year. Part of a healthy spiritual diet that contributes to quality spiritual fitness. Enjoy!
There is a story by Pearl S. Buck called “Christmas Day in the Morning.” I read it every year about this time to remind myself of the best gift I can give or receive. The story is about a young man’s first experience of giving a gift from the heart. Rob was 15 years old that Christmas, a strapping young man who was a great help on his family’s farm. Farm work started early in the morning, with Rob and his father out in the barn milking the cows every morning at 5 a.m. Rob liked working alongside his father, although he wasn’t too fond of getting up so early. One morning, he overheard his parents talking outside his bedroom. His father was hesitant to wake Rob for the morning’s chores. He wanted his son to get some sleep. He wished aloud that he could do all the milking himself, so as not to work Rob so much.
As Rob lay there listening to his parents’ conversation, he was struck with the realization that his father loved him. His parents had always expressed their love in simple, everyday ways, but they weren’t prone to verbalize their feelings. But this conversation was confirmation enough for Rob. His father loved him. Suddenly, Rob wanted more than anything to show his father that he loved him, too.
Christmas was only a few days away, so Rob had a little time to think. He couldn’t afford to buy his parents a fancy present. But he did have an idea of something that would make his father happy – Rob would go out early and milk the cows all by himself, before his father even woke up. So that Christmas morning, Rob woke before 4 a.m. He slipped out to the barn and milked all the cows, then made it back to bed before his father could suspect anything. Rob’s heart had been so full of love and joy that it hadn’t even felt like work to him.
Soon, his father came into his room and woke him for the morning milking. Rob acted sleepy so his father went on ahead to start without Rob. In a few minutes, Rob’s father returned. He was alternately laughing and crying, so touched by his son’s gift that he didn’t know what to say. And as he wrapped his arms around his son, Rob’s father promised that he would remember this gift every Christmas for as long as he lived. This was a gift of thoughtfulness that had not cost Rob a penny, but it was priceless to his father.