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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
The Sparkling Stars

There was a string of six Christmas lights that were hanging over the door of a beautiful, old Victorian home. Amber was a bright yellow light. She shone like the sunshine. Ruby was on the string next to Amber. She glowed like a bright red Santa suit. Forrest was next to Ruby. He emitted an emerald green glow. He liked being the same color as a Christmas tree. Pip was orange. He loved being lit up like a glowing orange. He was on the string next to Forrest. Crystal was as white as the snow that often fell on her as she hung on the string of lights next to Pip. Skyler, the last light on the string, shined the same color blue that could be found in an ancient iceberg.

The six lights loved hanging above the door during the Christmas season. From there, they could see everything that was going on. "The stars are so pretty up there, sparkling brightly in the sky tonight," Crystal noticed.

"Yes, they are," agreed Forrest. "That pine tree over there is colorfully decorated," he added, as the group looked at the tall evergreen standing near them and agreed. The family had decorated it with ornaments.

Just then, a car pulled into the driveway. The father got out of the driverís seat and angrily slammed the car door. He walked up to the porch and unlocked the front door to his home, mumbling under his breath as he tried the wrong key.

The mum got out of the other side of the car, rubbing her temples as if she had a headache. She took the baby, Bruce, out of the car seat and carried him into the house. He was wearing a blue snowsuit and was wrapped in a quilt, and he was crying very hard.

"Poor wee bairn," Amber sympathized. "Heís probably tired and hungry."

One by one the other children got out of the car, each carrying two or three professionally wrapped gifts with fancy ribbons and bows on them. One of them, a wee boy named Dylan, was sucking on a peppermint stick. He had a red, sticky mess all over his face and hands, and also all over his new coat.

The six lights giggled as they saw him walking towards him. "His mum isnít going to like it when she sees the mess heís made all over the wrapping paper and his coat," Forrest said, and giggled some more.

"Look at the bow," said Skyler. "It was yellow. Now itís red and yellow." He giggled too.

The next child, a wee lass named Jenny, carried her presents towards the front door. She was crying, "Mum, Keith hit me."

The lights looked over at the car. There sat Keith, yelling, "Big baby!" to his wee sister. He jumped out of the car, made a snowball and threw it at Jenny, hitting her on the back of the head.

She dropped all the presents that she was carrying into the snow and ran into the house shouting, "Mum, Keith threw a snowball at my head!"

The lights looked down on Jenny as she ran inside. Snow was stuck all over her hair. "Awwww, poor wee thing. I hope sheís not hurt," said Ruby, worried about the lass.

Keith stood in the snow and made a pile of snowballs. He started throwing them at the house. SPLAT! One landed just above Pip. THUD! Another slammed into the wall near Amber. Some of the snowball landed on her, but quickly melted from the heat she produced. POW! Another hit Ruby and made her stick to the wall with the snow. "Ruby? Are you all right?" asked Forrest.

Just then the door to the house opened again. "Keith, stop throwing snowballs at the house and bring those presents in here now!" shouted the father. Keith pouted all the way up the driveway and walked through the front door, his head hanging low.

As the door shut behind him, Pip called to Ruby, "Are you all right?"

The heat from Ruby had melted the snow that held her firmly to the house. "Iím fine. Keith had better learn to stop throwing snowballs. He almost shattered me," she said, rather frightened.

"Isnít this supposed to be a season of joy?" asked Skyler.

Amber answered, "Itís supposed to be, but with all the sweeties and presents, parties, shopping, and letís not forget Santa Claus, it just wears everyone out."

"Is that what Christmas is all about; lights, decorations, gingerbread houses, peppermint sticks and plastic reindeer?" asked Pip.

"Listen to me. Iíll tell you what Christmas is all about," Crystal began. "Look up into the sky. See how all the stars twinkle? One night, a long time ago, a star shone brighter than any other star. People everywhere could see it. Below that star, a very special baby was born. His name was Jesus. He wasnít born in a fancy house, or in a hotel or hospital, but in a stable full of sheep, goats, maybe a cow, and a donkey that his pregnant mother had just ridden for a long distance. Shepherds stopped tending their flocks of sheep to come and see the baby. Wise men from afar, who were all wealthy men, maybe even kings, brought gifts for baby Jesus. These gifts werenít games, or stuffed animals, or even rattles, and they werenít wrapped in fancy paper with ribbons and bows. They brought gold, frankincense and myrrh. They saw the star and followed it to where the baby lay. Everyone came to see him. He was special. He was Godís son. The people of the world would learn things from him, like how to be kind and giving and to love each other."

Crystal stopped for a moment to think. Amber said, "Look at how the people remember this event now! They fight, they get angry with their families, and they cry and hurt each other. It seems to me that nobody remembers the real meaning of Christmas any more."

None of the other lights said a word. They silently thought about what Crystal had said. The door opened and the father came outside, shutting the door softly behind him. He took a deep breath of the cold, wintry air and looked up into the sky. The lights watched him. He looked up at the stars as they twinkled and sparkled. A smile broke across his face, as if heíd just remembered something very special, and then he went back inside the house.

"Oh, I see now," whispered Forrest.

A few minutes later, "Silent night, holy night. All is calm, all is bright," came from inside the house, filling the night air with music. The lights listened as the family, who were just a few minutes ago fighting with each other, sang a carol about Jesus. Even Keith was singing. "Sleep in heavenly peace," they ended.

All six of the lights were crying. Crystal thought to herself, "Maybe they do remember what Christmas is really about after all."

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