On this special night, Thomas was sitting on the floor near the Christmas tree. Along with his pet Max, he
gazed at the beautiful shining star at its top. Thomas looked at the gifts under the tree. He thought about a wonderful surprise which always made Christmas so special.
His day-dreaming stopped as he heard voices of Mom and Dad behind him. "Would you please help us set up the Nativity scene, Thomas?" Thomas got up from the floor. He watched as mom removed the Nativity items from a large box. Mom lifted something from the box that looked like a building. In answer to the
curious look from Thomas, Dad said "This is the stable." Thomas listened as he was told about the stable. It was a place where animals, like horses and cows were kept.. like a
barn. "Why was Jesus born in a barn?" asked Thomas. As they put the stable in place, dad answered the question,... "When Jesus' mother and father came to Bethlehem, there was no other place for them to stay. There was so many people in the city at that time. The government had told all the people to go to their
hometowns to be counted. These were very difficult days, because it was so close to the time for Mary to have her baby." Mom reached into the box and brought out the figured of the sheep and a donkey. These were placed in the stable. "Here is the figures of Jesus' father, Joseph. And His
mother, Mary," said Dad.
Thomas took the figures and placed them in the center of the stable. "While Mary and Joseph were in the stable that night, Jesus was born," said Dad. Then Thomas again reached into
the box and unwrapped something labeled "MANGER". "What is a manger?" asked
Thomas. Mom explained that people placed food for the animals in the manger. "But on that special night long ago... Mary and Joseph filled that with straw and laid the baby Jesus there," said Dad.
Searching through the box, Thomas looked for the baby. Soon, he smiled as he gently
lifted the figure of the baby Jesus. He placed the baby in the manger. Thomas wondered what it must have been like to be there. As mom reached back into the box, Thomas watched as other figures were removed. Dad told him of the shepherds, who raised the sheep, were there also.
Thomas felt his eyelids become heavy. He was very tired, Thomas tried to stay awake. His eyes blinked as he stared at the tree-top star. He tried to listen to his mom as she told about the shepherds came to be there. Thomas yawned... The star became a blur, and he could here his dad,... "The shepherds were watching their flock of sheep that night. The were near the city of Bethlehem. While they were sitting around, something amazing happened,
...aa-nn-dd" ... Suddenly a flash of bright light forced Thomas's eyes open. But, the star was no longer on the tree-top. It was shining brightly in the dark sky ... so much brighter than all the other stars!
In the midst of that flash of light, Thomas saw a figure of ... what? ... an angel? And then he looked at his clothes. He had a robe ... not
blue jeans, and sandals... not sneakers! His pet Max was now a sheep! And he was a shepherd! It was clear to Thomas he was not longer at home.
The angel spoke to Thomas and the others, and said there was very good news ... The baby Jesus had been born in Bethlehem! He was God's own Son! He was to be Christ the Lord. He was to become our Savior ... God had always promised that this would happen someday. Thomas heard the excited voices of the others.
The angel faded into the night sky, and the star became brighter. It was as if it pointed to that stable in Bethlehem. He heard the other shepherds say that they must go and see this great thing which had happened in Bethlehem. Before Thomas knew it, he was standing
with the others in the Bethlehem stable. He could see Joseph and Mary looking down at the straw-filled manger. Resting in the center was a tiny baby, Jesus. As Thomas watched it was as if Mary
motioned for him to come closer. As he moved to the side of the manger, Thomas could hear the others praying
and praising God for this miracle. Trying to see the face of the baby, Thomas reached out and removed some straw.
As he did this, there was another flash of brilliant light. Thomas heard Mom's voice "What a picture that will be!" As his eyes opened, Thomas again saw the tree-top star. He saw his old familiar
blue jeans, sneakers, and his pet Max. But, there was something else! Mom and Dad looked down at Thomas's hand and asked "Where did you get that straw, Thomas?"
Unable to answer, Thomas looked at the straw in his hand. The he gazed again at the star atop the tree. Without a word, Thomas placed the straw beneath the tree. It was a sign of the greatest of all gifts ... the reason Christmas is celebrated. This Christmas would have a new meaning for Thomas. He has his own miracle ... one that would always remind him of the miracle of Jesus'
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