Charlie’s Blanket


“Charlie’s Blanket”


Yes, Christmas is full of wonderful songs. But there’s also an abundance of wonderful stories.  Like the story of Charlie’s blanket.

Mary was certainly having a rough go of it.  Her husband had left her…leaving behind nothing.  So here she was…with no money, no visible means of support…and three small girls to raise.  Although she had taken on work cleaning other people’s houses, there wasn’t near enough money to go around, and, no matter how hard she tried, the closer she got to Christmas, the worse her attitude became.

It was bad enough that every day they would all have to make the long cold walk to school to drop off Laura and Cindy, the two oldest, at the elementary school.  But, must they have to see all the beautifully decorated homes?  And here she was, barely able to keep her children fed and clothed.

At first, the children took it in stride.  The youngest three-year-old, Amy, would go with her mother to clean the houses and stare, almost mesmerized, at the beautifully decorated Christmas trees.  And, then she had her special friend, Charlie.  He was just a rag doll, but Amy loved him so.  And now, with the weather so cold, she would keep him tightly wrapped in that precious blanket.  Actually, it was just a scrap of a blanket that somebody must have dropped in the parking lot.  Amy found it there…Mary washed it, and now it belonged to Charlie.

After spending time in the various houses all decked in glorious holiday fashion, little Amy sensed that she was missing something.  So, one night as they all sat together, she asked, “Mama, why does everybody have a tree in their house? And who are all the presents for?  Is it somebody’s birthday?”  Mary had known it would come.  “Yes, it is somebody’s birthday,” she said.  “His name is Jesus and He was born on Christmas”.   Then she told the girls the story of the first Christmas.

Amy hugged Charlie close.  “Ooh, the poor baby.  Was it very cold in the stable, Mama?  I wouldn’t want to sleep in a stable, would you?  Mama, can we see the baby Jesus?”

“Yes, we can” Mary said.  “Girls get on your coats…we’re going to take a walk” down the street they walked to a church that had set up a manger scene.  The girls were in awe of this simple and beautiful scene.  And even though little Amy began to shiver from the cold, she didn’t want to leave.  She loved to just stand and stare at this tiny baby lying in the hay.

Over the next week until Christmas, the weather got very cold, but Amy insisted everyday that they walk by the manger on their way home just so she could see the baby lying in the hay.  It could have been quite heartwarming for Mary, seeing Amy’s little face as she stared at the manger scene.

But, instead, as time got closer to Christmas, the bitterness and anger inside Mary only grew.  She wasn’t concerned for herself.  When you’re an adult you can somehow take whatever life dishes out.  But, oh how different it is when your child is hurting.  And even though Laura and Cindy did their best to act like they weren’t bothered…Mary knew they were.

With every Christmas carol and decoration Mary’s heart became colder.  Every Christmas card or call of “Merry Christmas” made her hate the season more.  Until finally, the children began to follow.  All but little Amy.  She continued to hold Charlie close…tightly wrapped in the ragged little blanket…as she told him again and again about Baby Jesus, who was born in a manger.

Then, it was Christmas Day.  The two older girls woke up cold so they jumped into mom’s bed.  Mary didn’t want to get up because she had so little to give her children.  She thought, “What a terrible day it would be”.

Finally, she said, “Ok, go wake up Amy and we’ll see what’s under the tree”.  To soon they were back.  “Where is she mama? We can’t find her”.  The words hit Mary like a truck.  She raced through the house checking every closet and corner.  “Please Lord help me find her”, as she rechecked every spot.  “I’m sorry for my anger.  The gifts and dinner I wanted are not important …just give me back my Amy”.

By now she was frantic and, then she saw Charlie. He was never out of Amy’s sight.  And where was his blanket?  Suddenly she knew.  She raced down the dark and snowy street until she could see the church and the manger scene.  Then she slowed as tears of relief rand down her face.

There was Amy.  She had climbed into the manger and was covering the Baby Jesus with Charlie’s ratty scrap of a blanket.  “You must be cold”, Amy said.  “This is Charlie’s blanket but we’ll give it to you…he has me to keep him warm”.  Then she noticed her mother standing there.  “Oh, hi mama. I came to see Baby Jesus.  I was afraid he might think that we’d forgotten His birthday.  Mary plucked her out of the straw and held her tight.  “I did forget honey…I did forget about Jesus.  Dear Lord, I’m sorry I forgot, Happy Birthday Jesus”.

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