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The Miracle of Christmas
Jane kissed her mother and father goodnight as they tucked her in on a chilly Christmas Eve.
“Goodnight, Jane,” whispered her mother, Mrs. Lesley Middleton.
“Goodnight, Jane,” breathed her father, Mr. John Middleton
“Goodnight mommy and daddy. I love you,” replied Jane.
“I hope you’ve been a good girl this year, Jane,” said her father.
“I have! I have! I’ve been very good!” sang Jane.
“That’s good,” chuckled her mother. Jane smiled proudly, waiting to go to sleep so she could open her presents. Her parents wished her a happy and peaceful sleep, and almost silently, left the room. Drifting off to sleep, Jane heard her parents arguing about money, and not having enough to buy anything for their darling daughter. She began dreaming depressing dreams where there wasn’t any happiness at all in the world.
Jane woke to the sound of a bird calling for its friends. She searched her room frantically, looking for a stocking filled with goods. After coming up empty handed, she slowly walked towards the living room, where the Christmas tree was, with her fingers crossed, praying for the only thing she had ever wanted, a puppy. She closed her eyes, looked towards her Christmas tree star, and opened them to find a beautifully, gleaming star on top. Wishing that her letter she sent Santa had been answered; she slowly brought her focus downward, scanning every single branch on the way down. She finally got to the bottom of the tree trunk, only to find nothing, once again. She dropped to her knees and started sobbing as she did every year. Her parents watched, just as they did every year. And same as every year, her father went back to the pound, begging for a free puppy for his daughter. And same as every year, the pound declined, even though they have to put dogs down more often than not. So he slowly, feeling like a failure, walked back to his home, where he would find his beautiful daughter, utterly heartbroken.
After weeks went by, they still hadn’t heard anything from the pound. And poor, little Jane was barely eating. All she could do was sit in her room, and think about what she could have done to deserve this. She was becoming more and more ill. Her parents, becoming worried, kept returning to the pound explaining that their child had become sick, and that they were afraid they couldn’t make her well again without a puppy. But as usual, they declined, sending their regrets, but that they just didn’t have enough money to give away free puppies.
Months went by, and still, there was no improvement in her health. It was almost Christmas again, but Mr. and Mrs. Middleton couldn’t bring her into the Christmas spirit, no matter how hard they tried. They even attempted to bake her a cake – a very rare treat for the Middleton family – and even then, she ate nothing, not a single crumb.
Finally, Christmas Eve arrived, and Jane, sulking in her room, no longer wished for a puppy, she only wished for everything to be over. During this time, Mr. Middleton began his yearly trek to the pound. However, this time, he had his mind set on bringing back a puppy. He was determined to make his little girl smile again.
“Please Mr. Harris! You don’t understand-“ pleaded Mr. Middleton.
“I understand perfectly! You just want to scrounge off us! I bet you don’t even have a daughter!” interrupted Mr. Harris, the pound owner, rather aggressively.
“But you see, sir,” pulling out a rather horrific looking photo of Jane, “I do have a daughter, and she has become increasingly ill, all because I have failed to bring her back a puppy,” said Mr. Middleton, choking down sobs and trying to keep tears out of his eyes. “It’s just a simple puppy,” looking down at the photo of his daughter, “don’t you have a heart Mr. Harris?” questioned Mr. Middleton. Mr. Harris, utterly speechless, turned away in pity.
“I guess that answers that question, Mr. Harris. Have a Merry Christmas.” replied Mr. Middleton rather gruffly. On the verge of crying, he turned around to exit the pound, for what would seem, the last time for the year. Glancing back at Mr. Harris, still unmoving, he began his freezing journey back to his house. About to cross Fitzroid St., Mr. Harris called for Mr. Middleton. Turning around, Mr. Middleton saw him gesture to come back. Thinking this was it, he returned enthusiastically.
“Look, Mr. Middleton, I do have one puppy I can give you,” said Mr. Harris.
“I’ll take it! Oh, thank you, Mr. Harris! Thank you!” replied Mr. Middleton, unable to hide his excitement.
“He is the runt of the litter, but I’m sure you’ll be just as pleased to have him as you would any other,” chuckled Mr. Harris. As they walked towards the cage, they could hear the soft moans of the sleeping animals. They walked up to one of the end cages to find a bunch of sleeping Norfolk Terriers, and right in the middle of the litter, there was the runt, little Scout.
“He’s perfect,” mumbled Mr. Middleton, “can I take him now?”
“Sure, just sign these papers, and he’s all yours.” answered Mr. Harris.
“Oh thank you Mr. Harris! Thank you so much!” replied Mr. Middleton.
After signing the papers, Mr. Middleton picked out Scout and almost ran home. Opening the front door, he called for his wife.
“What! What is it, John?” asked Lesley worriedly.
“I’ve got him!” he said, walking into the kitchen. Mrs. Middleton squealed with glee, asking their daughter to come down for a minute. Obeying, Jane dawdled half-heartedly to the kitchen. Asking what she was needed for, she looked up at her parents, and then at the small creature crawling around in Mr. Middleton’s arms.
“Oh my gosh! You got it! You really got me a puppy! I love you so much!” screamed Jane, running up to grab little Scout from her father’s hands. She danced around with her new best friend.
And in that moment, everything was perfect. As if nothing could ever go wrong. Mr. Middleton would never forget the look on her face. The gleam in her eyes. The joy in her voice. If he died right then, he would have been content, because he had finally given his Jane a reason worth living for. For this was the miracle of Christmas.