Tiny Tears

by Marie Williams

Erica felt it in the air. Christmas was coming, and along with it came the hustle and bustle of her mother rushing to town, only to return with huge bundles of brightly wrapped gifts, topped with silk bows and adornments.

Erica smiled as her mother hurriedly placed the gifts under the Chrsitmas tree. Glistening snow nestled on the branches of the tree reflected in her brown eyes, while she silently watched, mesmerized by the twinkling lights.

She followed the lights to the top of the tree. A large angel dressed in white with silver glitter adorning the gown, glowed from the light hidden underneath. Wings, made of feathers, spread wide, gave Erica the impression of flight. She wondered if this might have been one of the angels who sang so long ago, when Jesus was born.

The sweet sounds of Christmas carols played on the Victorola. Oh Holy Night, Silent Night, O Little Town of Bethlehem, all proclaiming the birth of a Savior. Not only were there wonderful sounds, but Erica smelled the sweetest scents her little button nose had ever experienced in her short life. Apple cider, peppermint, cinnamon, and spices she had never heard of, wafted throughout the house. "This must be a dream," whispered Erica. "But if it is, I don't want to wake up."

Finding a Christmas catalog, she settled in a corner by the tree, while her mom scurried to the kitchen to see how Dadie's baking was coming along. (Dadie was the family maid, but Erica just considered her the best friend a young girl could have.) Her infectious smile brought joy to many hurting hearts.

Flipping the pages, Erica stopped, mouth gaping wide in awe. A brown curly topped doll held her attention. The doll had chocolate brown eyes, just like Erica. She had real hair, not just designed hair on a rubber head. Nooo, this hair was real! The picture showed that she cried real tears, and even wet her diaper. Erica giggled; she would have to make some diapers. How she longed to have a doll of her very own. She never had a doll.

Bob, Cynthia, and their two sons, Bryan and Robert gave Erica a home when they heard her parents abandoned her. They decided, after a year, that it was time to make things permanent. They filed to adopt. The adoption finalized just in time for Christmas.

Cynthia stood in the doorway watching their precious daughter. A tear of joy trickled down her cheek. Joy and thanksgiving filled her heart as she thought of the prayers sent up for a daughter. She was so proud of their two sons. They took Erica under their wings and loved her from the start. Their fervent prayers were often heard during the late hours of the night.

Flipping the tear away, Cynthia called out in a singsong voice, "Daddy will be home soon." Erica jumped up and down with glee, mimicking a song, "Daddy's coming hooome, daddy's coming hooomme." "Such precious words," mused Cynthia, "But, isn't that just how I feel about Jesus?" "Someday he's coming back!"

The door flung open with Bob barreling through the door, gifts in hand, he quickly placed them under the tree just in time to catch one airborne little girl racing for a hug and kiss; and knocking him to the floor, with Erica landing on his belly. Everyone laughed as he untangled himself.

"Everyone gather 'round, it's time for cider, prayer, and the story of the birth of Christ," said Bob. "Let's sing a song, said Bryan." "How about, O Come all ye Faithful?" asked Robert.

As the snow began to fall outside, the grateful family sang their praises to God. After the songs, each listened to the greatest story ever told. A story of a Savior, born in a stable to a virgin.From the beginning, he was destined to live and die, that all would have eternal life. He gave the greatest gift of all.

Gifts were handed out, each person taking a turn opening and admiring their treasures. There was one last gift under the tree. Bob picked it up and placed it in front of Erica. "Cynthia leaned over and whispered to Bob, "What's in the package?" Bob winked, and replied, "Oh, just Tiny Tears."

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Front Porch Inspirations - 2003