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December 20, 2004 - "The Christmas Star" by Susan Adair

 


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"If there is no joyous way to give a festive gift, give love away." Unknown



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This story is one that will warm your heart and holiday this Christmas week -- you'll need a tissue or two! If you enjoyed last week's "The Glory on Highway 69", be sure to read the Letter Box today!



"The Christmas Star"
by Susan Adair


This was my grandmother's first Christmas without grandfather, and we had promised him before he passed away that we would make this her best Christmas ever. When my mom, dad, three sisters and I arrived at her little house in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, we found she had waited up all night for us to arrive from Texas. After we exchanged hugs, Donna, Karen, Kristi, and I ran into the house. It did seem a little empty without grandfather, and we knew it was up to us to make this Christmas special for her.

Grandfather had always said that the Christmas tree was the most important decoration of all. So we immediately set to work on the beautiful artificial tree that was kept stored in grandfather's closet. Although artificial, it was the most genuine looking Douglas fir I had ever seen. Tucked away in the closet with the tree was a spectacular array of ornaments, many of which had been my father's when he was a little boy. As we unwrapped each one, grandmother had a story to go along with it. My mother strung the tree with bright white lights and a red button garland; my sisters and I carefully placed the ornaments on the tree; and finally father was given the honor of lighting the tree. We stepped back to admire our handiwork. To us, it looked magnificent, as beautiful as the tree in Rockefeller Center. But something was missing. "Where's your star?" I asked. The star was my grandmother's favorite part of the tree, for it represented the star of Bethlehem that had led the wise men to the infant Jesus. "Why, it must be here somewhere," she said, starting to sort through the boxes again. "Your grandfather always packed everything so carefully when he took the tree down."

As we emptied box after box and found no star, my grandmother's eyes filled with tears. This was no ordinary ornament, but an elaborate golden star covered with colored jewels and blue lights that blinked on and off. Moreover, grandfather had given it to grandmother some fifty years ago on their first Christmas together. Now, on her first Christmas without him, the star was gone, too.

"Don't worry, Grandmother," I reassured her. "We'll find it for you."

My sisters and I formed a search party. "Let's start in on the closet where the ornaments were," Donna said. "Maybe the box just fell down."

That sounded logical, so we climbed on a chair and began to search that tall closet of grandfather's. We found father's old yearbooks and photographs of relatives, Christmas cards from years gone by and party dresses and jewelry boxes, but no star. We searched under beds and over shelves, inside and outside, until we had exhausted every possibility. We could see grandmother was disappointed, although she tried not to show it.

"We could buy a new star," Kristi offered.

"I'll make you one from construction paper," Karen chimed in.

"No," Grandmother said. "This year, we won't have a star."

By now, it was dark outside, and time for bed, since Santa would soon be here. As we lay in bed, we could hear the sound of snowflakes falling quietly outside.

The next morning, my sisters and I woke up early, as was our habit on Christmas day - first, to see what Santa had left under the tree, and second, to look for the Christmas star in the sky. After a traditional breakfast of apple pancakes, the family sat down together to open presents. Santa had brought me the Easy Bake Oven I wanted, and Donna a Chatty Cathy doll. Karen was thrilled to get the doll buggy she had asked for, and Kristi to get the china tea set. Father was in charge of passing out the presents, so that everyone would have something to open at the same time.

"The last gift is to Grandmother from Grandfather," he said, in a puzzled voice.

"From who?" There was surprise in my grandmother's voice.

"I found that gift in grandfather's closet when we got the tree down," Mother explained. "It was already wrapped so I put it under the tree. I thought it was one of yours."

"Hurry and open it," Karen urged excitedly.

My grandmother shakily opened the box. Her face lit up with joy when she unfolded the tissue paper and pulled out a glorious golden star. There was a note attached. Her voice trembled as she read it aloud:

"Don't be angry with me, dear. I broke your star while putting up the decorations, and I couldn't bear to tell you. Thought it was time for a new one. I hope it brings you as much joy as the first one. Merry Christmas. Love, Bryant."

So grandmother's tree had a star after all, a star that expressed their everlasting love for one another. It brought my grandfather home for Christmas in each of our hearts and made it our best Christmas ever.


Susan Adair Copyright






The Letter Box:




Hi Susan - I know this story of "The Glory on Highway 69" to be true! My family and I have enjoyed viewing these lights for many years. I think all of Cullman Alabama has! We are thankful for the Swindles. They are the salt of the earth, and our prayer is that God will continue to bless them. I would love to know what booklet this story appeared in; I would like to have one for myself! Thanks for all your wonderful 2theheart stories that you take your personal time to share with us. Merry Christmas and God's richest blessings to you and to all of your readers. Kathy Norris Cullman, Alabama



Dear Susan,
OH! GLory on Highway 69 was a WONDERFUL story! You're right ---- it brought the spirit of Christmas to me so beautifully! Thank you! Debbie



Dear 2theheart,
The Glory on Highway 69 was a perfect story for me to read today. I have been struggling with losing my vision and becoming quite depressed over it. The little girl who shared the wonder of Christmas lights that she couldn't even see reminded me to humble myself and look for the blessings I enjoy each day. THANK YOU! God bless, Dixie M.

    Making a difference, one story at a time!