I hope you enjoy reading the following stories—Mareta

The Spanking
by Grandma Keener

(A true Christmas story which took place 69 years ago)

“Wake up, Mareta,” Margie whispered in my ear. My eyes opened to a dark room and my sister’s face leaning over mine. Her long hair brushed my cheeks.

“What’s wrong,” I whispered back, as I slowly stretched out my legs between the sheets. Suddenly, I remembered. “It is Christmas morning!”
I looked out the window by my bed. The sky was just beginning to turn pink beyond the slender limbs of the walnut tree.

“Margie, let’s wake up momma and daddy!” We raced down the hall and jumped right into the middle of our sleeping parents. Soon, Jack, my brother, heard our squeals and joined our giant ‘Merry Christmas’ hug.

After breakfast, we sat on the floor around our pine Christmas tree with it’s multicolored lights and frosted glass balls. Then came that magical moment that we all had been waiting for - - the opening of our gifts.

Ribbons were cut, paper flew everywhere and “oohs” and “ahhs” filled the air. I hugged the blue-eyed doll that I received from momma and daddy.

“You are so beautiful!” I whispered to her. “And you can actually drink a bottle!” I owned rag dolls, but I never had a dolly who could drink and eyes opened and shut.

I looked at my momma and daddy. “Thank you. I love her.” Their eyes shone with pleasure at my happiness.

Then, I saw Jack’s present -- a wood burning set. There was a wand, special shaped tips, square pieces of wood with patterns on them, and even bright colored paints.

“Oh,” I thought, “How I would love to make a beautiful picture with all those things!”

Before we left to play with our dolls, daddy said to us, “Girls, you mustn’t touch Jack’s wood burning set. It gets very hot and it can burn you. If you girls touch his set, I’ll have to spank you. Do you understand?”

“Yes, daddy,” I said, but I thought, “Spank me? Daddy, you have never spanked me. Not ever.”

Jack left his wood burning set under the tree. It seemed to draw me to it like a magnet. “I’ll just lift the lid and look at it,” I reasoned. “That won’t hurt anything.” Before I knew it, I had taken it to the kitchen table. No one was around. “I’ll just plug it in to see if it gets hot,” I said under my breath.

As I took the heated wand and pressed it down on the wood square, I looked up. There was daddy! He unplugged the wand and said, “Come with me.” He took my hand and led me to my bedroom. I looked up into his disappointed eyes and tears began to roll down my cheeks.

“Daddy, I was just --.” I stopped. Tears were rolling down his face too. He took off his glasses and sat down on the bed, wiping his eyes with the back of his hand.

“Pumpkin.” That was his special love name for me. “Pumpkin, I’m going to have to spank you. You know that you disobeyed me and you know what I said.” I nodded my head. My heart flipped over inside my chest.

“Lean over the bed,” he directed.

One swat. That’s all there was. It didn’t hurt my back side but I fell into his arms and sobbed and sobbed. He held me, as both of our tears wet his shirt.

Finally, I was able to say, “Daddy, I’m so sorry. Please forgive me for not minding you.” He held my face between his hands and looked into my eyes.

“You’re forgiven,” he simply said, “and I love you.”

Bed time came all too soon on that Christmas Day. Before I crawled into my bed, I looked out my window into the star filled sky. God, who lived beyond those stars, seemed so close to me. I talked to him

“Thank you, God, for loving us and for sending Baby Jesus to us. And God, thank you for giving me a daddy who keeps his word -- even if it means he has to spank me! And God, thank you that my daddy has tears, just like I do.”

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The following is a Christmas story for your children who are just beginning to read. I hope they enjoy it.

A GIFT FOR BETH

By Grandma Keener

“Mom, is my friend Beth sick?” Mark asked. “She never comes out and plays with me.”

Mom said, “Yes, Beth is very, very sick. Mark, she may never get well.”

“She has to get well, Mom,” Mark said. “She’s my friend.” He blinked his eyes. “I need to do something nice for her.”

Mark went to his room and thought and thought. “Christmas is coming. I will buy her a puppy so she won’t be lonely. This will also be my special birthday gift to Jesus. But I need money.”

Mark asked his momma. “May I sweep the porch for you?”

He found his daddy. “Dad, may I rake the leaves for you?”

He ran next door to his grandma’s house. “Grandma, may I wash your windows?” How hard Mark worked. Soon he had earned ten dollars!

“Now I can buy a puppy for Beth. Now I can give Jesus a special birthday gift too.” He put his money in his wallet.

On Sunday morning, Mark’s teacher said to his class, “Some boys and girls have no food to eat. Will you help them?” Mark gave her four of his dollars.

His pastor said to the church, “A family has lost their home and has no place to live. Will you help them?” Mark gave him three of his dollars.

The next day at school, his teacher said, “There are children who have no coats. Will you help buy coats for them?” Mark gave him three of his dollars.

That night, he looked in his wallet. No money! How could he buy a puppy for Beth? How could he give a gift to Jesus? He ran to his daddy. “Daddy, I’m sad.”

Daddy looked up. “What is wrong, son?” He asked.

“I gave all my money away. Now I can’t buy a puppy for Beth or give a special birthday gift to Jesus.” Mark told him what he had done with his money.

Daddy gave Mark a hug. “Mark, you have already given Jesus three gifts! Jesus says when you give to the poor, you give to him.”

“Really, Dad?” Said Mark. “But I want to give Beth a Christmas gift. What can I give her?”

“You pray about it, son. God will show you,” Daddy said.

Mark went to his room and prayed. Then he thought, “She is lonely. I know what I will give her.” He cut a paper into ten strips. On each strip he wrote, “Good for one hour of play at your house.” He wrapped the strips in some colored paper.

On Christmas Eve, Mark walked across the street to Beth’s house. Beth sat in a wheel chair. Mark saw that she did not have her long braids any more. In fact, she didn’t have any hair at all!

“Hi, Mark.” She said with a little smile.

Mark said, “I made these for you.”

“What are they?” Beth opened the gift and read a paper strip. “Mark, what a nice gift! But why would you want to play with me. The medicine they gave me made my hair fall out. Now I’m ugly.” A tear ran down her cheek.

“No you’re not! Beth you are my friend and friends are forever,” Mark said.

Beth opened her brown eyes wide. “Really? Oh, Mark, this is the best Christmas gift ever!”

On the way back to his house, Mark stopped and looked up at the stars. “Jesus,” he said. “That was your special gift too. I hope you liked it.” Somehow, he knew that Jesus was smiling.
   
   
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