I love little Christmas stories for the heart. I get some every Christmas from neighbors and friends.
Here are two of them:
PATTERN OF LOVE
By Jack Smith
I didn’t question Timmy, age nine, or his seven-year-old brother, Billy about the brown wrapping paper they passed back and forth between them as we visited each store.
Every year at Christmas time, our Service Club takes the children from poor families in our town on a personally conducted shopping tour. I was assigned Timmy and Billy, whos father was out of work. After giving them the allotted $4.00 each, we began our trip. At different stores I made suggestions, but always their answer was a solemn shake of the head, no. Finally, I asked, “Where would you suggest we look?”
“Could we go to the shoe store, Sir?” answered Timmy. “We’d like a pair of shoes for our daddy so he can go to work.” In the shoe store the clerk asked what the boys wanted. Out came the brown paper. “We want a pair of work shoes to fit this foot,” they said. Billy explained that it was a pattern of their Daddy’s foot. They had drawn it while he was asleep in a chair.
The clerk held the paper against a measuring stick, then walked away. Soon, he came back with an open box. “Will these do?” he asked.
Timmy and Billy handled the shoes with great eagerness.
How much do they cost?” asked Billy.
Then Timmy saw the price on the box. “They’re $16.95”, he said in dismay. “We only have $8.00.”
I looked at the clerk and he cleared his throat. “That’s the regular price,” he said, “but they’re on sale; $3.98, today only.” Then with shoes happily in hand, the boys bought gifts for their mother and two little sisters. Not once did they think of themselves.
The day after Christmas the boy’s father stopped me on the street. The new shoes were on his feet, gratitude was in his eyes. “I just thank Jesus for people who care,” he said.
“And I thank Jesus for your two sons,” I replied. “They taught me more about Christmas in one evening than I had learned in a lifetime.”
SHEPHERDS OF ISRAEL
Ensign, May 1988, 74
In his April 1988 Conference address Elder John R. Lasater tells of his experience of learning “of a true shepherd in Morocco”.
He was traveling with a caravan of the King’s limousines through the desert to see ancient ruins.
The limousine in front of them began to pull over and he got out with his interpreter. One of the driver’s was speaking to a shepherd dressed in robes very like the description of the robes in the Savior’s day.
The driver had hit one of the shepherd’s lambs and was reminding the shepherd of the law-since it had been the King’s limo that hit the lamb, he was to be paid 100 times it’s worth as sheep if the shepherd slaughtered the lamb and divided the meat among the people.
The interpreter told Elder Lasater that a shepherd would never accept. “Because of the love he has for each of his sheep.”
It was at this moment that Elder Lasater saw the shepherd bend down and scoop the lamb up and placed him in a pouch of his robe. The shepherd stroked him and kept repeating the same word over and over again to the lamb.
Elder Lasater asked what the word meant. The interpreter said it was the lambs name and that the shepherd knew each of his sheep by name. The shepherd then turned and left, returning to the rest of his flock.
As they continued on their journey the interpreter continued instruct Elder Lasater on the customs of the shepherds. Each evening all the shepherds bring their sheep together to protect them through the night from wolves. One shepherd takes the watch and guards the gate. In the morning each shepherd enters the gate and calls his sheep by name. “The sheep will not hearken unto the voice of a stranger but will leave the enclosure only in the care of their true shepherd, confident and secure because the shepherd knows their names and they know his voice.”