I was driving home one evening when I heard Dr James Dobson on the car radio. He had a very short but meaningful story in his “Focus on the family” feature that day. The moment I got back to the house, I sat down and wrote out my version of the story which I had included in one of my SPM English workbooks.
Christmas is just two weeks’ away and in conjunction with this festive season of hope and love, I would like to share this story with everyone. I have cut out a lot though so that it is much shorter and not so tedious to read. Well, the story goes like this:
Christmas was just around the corner. All the shops and complexes were gaily decorated with tinsel and colourful blinking lights on synthetic plastic trees, and cotton wool dangling from every nook and cranny in the bleak hope that it might pass off as snow. Shoppers dashed helter-skelter in search of the ideal gifts for friends and loved ones. Juggling with the boxes and bags in her arms, Mrs. Lim snaked through the crowd to her car, and finally headed for home.
No sooner had she reached the house than she bolted into the kitchen to get dinner ready, dumping everything on the table in the living room. “I’ve to start cooking, otherwise the whole family will have to go to bed hungry tonight.”
After dinner, Mrs. Lim settled down to wrapping the presents. The two older children were studying in their rooms while Janice was lying leisurely on the sofa, her eyes glued to the television screen, totally enthralled by the animated antics of Mickey Mouse
Soon the much-awaited Christmas Day arrived. Everyone had gathered around the Christmas tree to open their presents. Donny and Marie ripped open all that had their names on them. In the midst of the excitement, Mrs. Lim spotted a quaint little box wrapped in newspaper.
Picking it up, she remarked aloud, “What is this? Is this from you, Janice” The little girl nodded, her eyes glowing. All eyes were on her as Mrs. Lim removed the wrapper.
“What is the meaning of this?” she shrieked; the anger in her voice was obvious. “It’s empty!” Turning to her daughter, she reprimanded, “Is this your idea of a joke, Janice? Are you trying to make a fool out of me?” At that instant, her palm landed on the little girl’s face, leaving streaks of red across her cheek.
Finally, Janice spoke. Through her incessant sobs, she said, “It’s not empty, Mummy. The box is filled with all my love and kisses for you.”
Mrs. Lim was stunned for a moment, and then, breaking down in tears and taking Janice in her arms, she pleaded, “Forgive me, darling. I’m so sorry.”
“It’s all right, Mummy, it’s all right. Don’t cry.” The little girl brushed her fingers over her mother’s face as the rays of the Christmas morning sun shone in through the window onto the mother and child below, entwined in each other’s arms.