What a Life! for December 12-18, 2012
by Rev. Wilmer L. Todd
A brother and sister made their usual obligatory pre-Christmas visit to the little farm where their elderly parents lived. They had grown up on this farm where their parents raised a small herd of horses. The siblings had fond memories of their childhood, but for them city life was more exciting. Their parents named the farm Lone Pine Farm because of the huge pine on top of the hill.
The old folks no longer showed their horses. The years had taken their toll, and getting up on those frosty mornings was getting harder and harder. They sold a few foals each year. However, the horses were still their joy in life.
As the young couple prepared to leave, they confronted their parents, “Why not dispose of ‘The Old One’. It’s been years since she’s given birth. Why do you keep her anyway?”
The father drew near “The Old One” gently rubbing her softly behind her ears. He replied, “We keep her because of love. Nothing else, just love.”
The young folks wished their parents a Merry Christmas and headed back toward the city as darkness settled in the valley. The old couple shook their heads in sorrow. “How is it that these young folks do not understand the peace and love that fill our hearts?”
As they waved good-bye, the insulation on the frayed wires in the old barn caught fire. In a matter of minutes, the whole barn was ablaze and the hungry flames were consuming the loft full of hay. With a cry of horror and despair, the old man shouted to his wife to call for help as he raced to the barn to save their beloved horses.
The flames were roaring now, and the blazing heat drove him back. He fell to his knees, sobbing helplessly before the fire’s fury. His wife returned from calling for help cradled him in her arms, clinging to each other, weeping at their loss.
By the time the fire department arrived, only the glowing ruins were left. The couple, exhausted from their grief, huddled together before the barn. They thanked the firefighters for coming out.
The old man whispered to his wife, “We have lost much, but God has spared our home on this Christmas Eve. Let us climb the hill and look down upon our home and give thanks to God that it has been spared. The journey up the hill was hard for their old bodies in the steep snow. As they paused to rest, they looked up at the top of the hill and fell to their knees in amazement at the incredible beauty before them.
They saw a brilliant star glittering in the snow-frosted branches of their beloved pine. A crystal crescent moon glistened at its peak. No one had ever seen a Christmas tree such as this. They were breathless as they held each other.
Suddenly, the old man gave a cry of wonder and incredible joy. There, beneath the tree, in resplendent glory, was their Christmas gift. Bedded down about “The Old One” close to the trunk of the tree, was the entire herd, safe.
At the first hint of smoke, “The Old One” had pushed the door ajar with her muzzle and led the horses through it. Slowly and with great dignity, she had led them up the hill, stepping cautiously through the snow to safety beneath the pine. Now she lay among them and gazed at the faces of the elderly couple.
Her body was brittle with years, tired from the climb, but her golden eyes were filled with devotion as she offered her gift – the gift of love. Tears flowed as the old couple shouted their praise and joy. Despite their tragedy, this was a wonderful Christmas!