Christmas Time

02 - Gold Slippers - Retold by Kimberly

It was only four days before Christmas. The spirit of the season hadn't quite caught up with him as he walked through the aisles of a local discount store. He was here to do some almost-last-minute gift shopping for as low a price as possible. He had thought the parking lot crowded, but inside the store was much worse. This unnerved him a bit as he was sort of recognizable. He was Taylor Hanson.

Why did I come today? His feet ached almost as much as his head; his head being a throbbing mass of torturing pain. His list contained the names of several people who claimed they didn't want gifts, but he knew their feelings would be hurt if he didn't buy them anything.

Buying for someone who had everything and deploring the high cost of items at a discount store, he considered gift-buying anything but fun.

Hurriedly, he filled his shopping basket with his planned purchases and proceeded to the long checkout lines. He picked the shortest line, which still almost guaranteed a twenty minute wait.

In front of him were two small children - a boy of about five and a younger girl that looked very much like the young boy.

The boy wore a ragged coat. Enormous, tattered sneakers jutted far out in front of his much too short jeans. He clutched several crumpled dollar bills in his grimy hands.

The girl's clothing resembled her aparant brother's. Her head was a matted mess of curly hair. Reminders of an evening meal showed on her small face. She carried a pair of beautiful, shiny, gold house slippers. As the Christmas music sounded in the store's stereo system, the girl hummed along off-key, but happily.

When the two children finally reached the checkout counter, the girl carefully placed the shoes on the counter. She treated them as though they were made of actual gold.

The clerk rang up the purchase. "That will be $6.09," she said.

The boy laid his crumpled dollars atop the stand while he desparately searched his pockets. He finally came up with $3.12. "I guess we have to put them back. We'll come back some other time," he said, almost bravely.

With that statement, a soft sob broke from the little girl. "But Jesus would have loved these shoes," she cried.

Her brother was quick to place an arm around her and pull her close. "Don't cry. We'll go home and work some more. We'll come back," he said.

Quickly, Taylor pulled $3.00 from his pocket and handed it to the cashier. He couldn't do anything else. Those children had waited for such a long time. Not to mention it was almost Christmas.

Suddenly, a pair of arms surrounded his legs and a small voice said, "Thank you, mister."

He looked down at the little girl latched onto him. "What did you mean when you said Jesus would love the shoes?" Taylor asked.

The boy answered. "Our mommy is sick and is going to heaven. Daddy said she might go before Christmas to be with Jesus."

The girl spoke. "In Sunday school, the teacher said the streets in heaven are shiny gold, like these shoes. Won't mommy be beautiful walking on a gold street with shoes to match?"

Taylor's eye flooded as he looked at the girl's tear streaked face. "Yes," he answered, "I'm sure she will."

Silently, he thanked whoever had sent these children to remind him of the true spirit of giving.