By Jessica Hill
Katherine was never a favorite of her adopted grandparents. Her adopted siblings, Jay and Lacey sure were favorites, though. They always got the most wonderful gifts for Christmas. They didn’t get Katherine wonderful gifts. She felt her siblings wished she had never come to live with them. She had been living with the Jarrman family for three years now.
Her parents, who were kind enough to adopt her, also thought she caused too much trouble. She only wanted to be loved. Being naughty was fun, until her parents told her about Santa Claus. Staying out of trouble was hard to do now! It was almost Christmas day, and Katherine was told that if she weren’t good, Santa wouldn’t bring her any presents, Katherine hoped that wouldn’t happen. It was difficult to be good as her siblings were never nice to her. They weren’t grateful for their sister. In Katherine’s perception, no one was.
Today was Christmas Eve. Katherine didn’t want to get into more trouble before Christmas or to wake up tomorrow to find coal in her stocking, so she decided to run away before she could cause any more trouble. That night, while Katherine’s family was making dinner, she slipped on her coat and jumped out the back door into the cold.
She decided that she would walk down to the Central Park right down the street. She thought about what she might do at the park, but then decided that it was too cold for thinking. She then walked on. Katherine sighed, watched the puff of breath fly through the dark, New York City air, and realized after a while that she was in the park. She had walked all the way, by herself, in the dark! Katherine grinned. She then spotted an old man on a bench. He looked lonely, even Katherine felt compassion for the man, and trotted over to sit by him. She could tell by his fuzzy moustache and the smile that lit up his face, that he couldn’t be dangerous. He looked like a nice grandpa.
She sat down on the wooden bench and asked him, “May I sit with you?”
He then replied, “Of course, darlin’!”
So, Katherine and the man, known as Marley, talked for a while. She told the nice man about her family and her problems. He then told her his story, about how he was homeless and lonely. He said he was only a little bit lonely, because he said he knew someone named Jesus that protected him, loved him and provided for him. Katherine didn’t understand who Jesus was until Marley explained a bit more.
“Jesus is the son of God, the creator of the Earth, who gave His only Son to die on a cross for the things we’ve done wrong, so that we can go to heaven, where He lives now,” Marley explained. Katherine understood.
“I have a lot of faults. Can Jesus still forgive me?” Katherine asked.
Then, Marley explained that Jesus certainly could, and that he could do it right now if Katherine asked him. She didn’t want to wait any longer, so Katherine and Marley prayed right on the bench, and asked for forgiveness. Marley also prayed that Katherine would learn to love her family, and that they would learn to love her. Katherine knew God would help her and her family love each other. When they finished, Katherine felt happy! She was determined to love her family like Jesus loved her.
Marley had convinced Katherine to go home and spend Christmas with her family. She had given him a huge hug and told him that she would see him soon. When she arrived home, it was early. No one was up yet. She snuck into the living room, and saw a pile of presents under the tree! She tiptoed over, and looked at one of the tags. It said “Katherine.” She even saw a few more with her name on them. She beamed with happiness. But Katherine knew that presents were not the meaning of Christmas. She knew in her heart that Christ was the true reason for Christmas. So, she thanked Jesus quietly, and headed off to sleep for a little while before the morning began.
As Katherine drifted off to sleep, she thought about how Jesus was already changing her life, and how He would change her family’s lives, too. It was a very Merry Christmas after all.