Jacob’s Best Christmas Ever

Over the past few weeks, I’ve shared some Christmas stories that I’ve written over the years. I hope you’ll enjoy today’s. Grab a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and savor a story about a little boy who discovered God’s greatest gift.

Jacob’s Best Christmas Ever
Sharon Jaynes©

Jacob stood shivering behind his mother as she rang the bell for the Salvation Army Christmas kettle. Cling, cling, rattled the coins as busy men and women tossed their loose change in the big black pot.

“You must stay close by,” his mother chided. “No running around on the busy sidewalk.”

Jacob nestled against the back of his mother’s legs and warmed himself with her loosely fitting coat as if it were his shawl. His too small coat and worn thin tennis shoes served as poor barriers against the December chill.

After a while, Jacob began to grow curious at the brightly decorated storefronts lining the bustling street. His mother didn’t even notice when he wandered away to peek in the window behind her post.

The storefront housed mechanical elves slowly hammering away on various oversized toy trucks, cars, and train sets. In one corner sat a round jolly old woman dressed in red, appearing to sew lace on a dolly’s dress. Mesmerized, he moved to the next window and saw a laughing man with a white beard dressed in a red suit riding in a sleigh full of packages.

The next window housed a crèche much like the one he had seen in front of the church near his apartment. There were Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus surrounded by three Kings, two shepherds and a camel crowded in the back.

The next window was filled with mannequins dressed in sequined party dresses and fancy black tuxedos. The next window was landscaped with artificial snow and a snowman family. The daddy snowman donned a splendid top hat, the mommy snowman had a floppy red hat and matching gloves, and the “children” wore matching scarves and earmuffs.

On and on Jacob explored with wide-eyed wonder the sights of the season in storefront after storefront. When he finally thought to turn around and wave to his mother, she was nowhere in sight. Jacob had wandered many blocks away and his curiosity had taken him through a maze of twists and turns. He had no idea where he was or how to get back to her.

With tears in his eyes, Jacob plopped down on a bench in front of Edwards’s department store and hoped that his mother would come to find him soon.

Meanwhile, Clara Jones sat by the fire in her small brick bungalow, sipping a cup of afternoon tea. Suddenly, she felt compelled to go uptown and do a little shopping.

“Lord,” she prayed, “You know I’ve done all my shopping this year, but I sense you nudging me to go uptown. I don’t know why you’re telling me to move,” she chuckled, “but as usual, I guess you’ll let me know when I get there.”

She put on her heavy red coat, slipped on warm fur lined boots, and wrapped a bright Christmas green scarf around her neck. She slowly made her way through the heavy holiday traffic.

As soon as she got out of her car, she saw her divine appointment waiting on a bench in front of Edwards’s department store. Before she crossed the street, God spoke to her heart, Look at the boy with the eyes of your heart.

He wore a threadbare coat that was missing most of its buttons and had too small sleeves that came down just below his elbows. On his right foot, a white sock peeked out of a hole in the toe of his well-worn tennis shoe, and his hands were stuffed deep in his pockets. Unruly brown hair framed his chapped cheeks, and frightened eyes darted to the left and right as if searching for something.

Then God whispered again, You have a chance to give this little boy the best Christmas present ever.

After what seemed like hours of waiting, Jacob saw an older woman with kind eyes and rosy cheeks approaching him. He recognized her as Mrs. Jones, who often helped out at the Salvation Army clothing store.

“Hi Jacob,” she said with a warm smile. Do you remember me?”

Jacob nodded his head silently, afraid if he spoke his tears might give way.

“Son, are you lost?” Mrs. Jones asked as she stooped down to look in his eyes.

“I don’t know, ma’am,” Jacob replied with a quiver in his voice. “I was with my mom. She is ringing a bell where people throw pennies and nickels in a big black kettle to help poor people, but I guess I walked too far away.  And now I don’t know my way back.”

He was trying to be as brave as a 6-year-old boy could be, but the quiver in his small voice revealed the truth.

“I’ll tell you what,” Mrs. Jones said, “see that policeman over there. Let’s tell him that you are lost and describe to him what your mother looks like in case she comes by looking for you. Then you can come in the store with me while I shop and stay warm.”

“OK Mrs. Jones. That sounds like a great idea.”

The twosome told the policeman about Jacob’s mom, and he promised to be on the lookout.

In the store, Mrs. Jones led Jacob to the children’s coat section.

“Which one of these coats do you think a little boy about 6-years-old would like?” she asked.

“Oh, I think a little boy about 6-years-old would like this one!” he exclaimed.  Jacob pointed to a corduroy pea coat with big brown leather buttons and a hood lined with something that reminded him of a stuffed toy lamb he had seen in one of the storefront windows.

“I think that is a splendid choice,” Mrs. Jones replied. “That coat is just the one I’d like to buy for you!”

Jacob was surprised! He had never had a new coat before, much less one so handsome and warm. He hugged Mrs. Jones with delight, slipped on the new coat, and stuffed his old one in a bag.

Then Mrs. Jones took Jacob to the shoe department and purchased a pair of black shiny new boots with plenty of toe room. Just beside the shoe department, they picked out a new scarf, woolen gloves and cap.

With her shopping complete, Mrs. Smith and Jacob went to check with the policeman.

“No sign of her yet,” the man said.

“I have another idea,” Mrs. Jones said, “Let’s sit here by the café window so we can spot her if she walks by.

The older woman ordered two cups of hot chocolate and drank in the smiles and chatter of little Jacob.

Finally, Jacob looked up at Mrs. Jones, cocked his head and asked, “Lady, are you God?”

“No,” she said with a chuckle. “I’m just one of His children.”

“Well, I knew you had to be some relation,” he said, assured of his estimation.

“Jacob, would you like to be one of God’s children too?”

“Oh, yes,” he quickly replied. “But how do I do that?”

Over the next 15 minutes, Mrs. Jones told Jacob the Christmas story as he had never heard it before. She started with the baby in the manger who was born that starry night in Bethlehem so long ago. She told him that the little baby was God’s Son and God had sent Him at Christmas time as the very first Christmas present. He was a present for all who would accept Him as their Savior and Lord.

She told him about the wise men that came from the East, the shepherds who saw the angels, and the angels who proclaimed Jesus’ birth. Then she told him that the baby grew up to be a man who did many wonderful things, healed the sick, and fed the poor.

“But some people didn’t believe Jesus was God’s Son and they killed Him by nailing him on a cross.”

“Why did God let them kill His Son?” Jacob asked with confusion and hurt in his eyes.

“Well, Jacob, it was all in God’s plan. Jesus didn’t even fight when the soldiers came to take him away. He gave His life freely as a gift for you and for me. But the good news is–Jesus didn’t stay dead! They buried Him in a tomb, but three days later, God raised Him from the dead. He was alive again, and He is still living today.”

“Really?” Jacob said in wide-eyed wonder. “Where does He live?”

Mrs. Jones pointed to her heart. “He lives in here.”  Then pointing to Jacob’s heart she said, “And He can live in there too,”

“Jacob, do you know what sin is?” Mrs. Jones asked.

“I think it is when you do something wrong. I always hear my grandmother saying, ‘Your sins will find you out.’ But I’m not sure what that means.”

Mrs. Jones chuckled thinking of her own country grandmother saying those same daunting words to her as a child.

“Jacob, all of us are sinners. We don’t become sinners the first time we do something wrong. We are born sinners. It just means that we aren’t perfect. We make mistakes all the time. Jesus came to take the punishment for our mistakes. When we accept Him as our Savior, when we say that we believe Jesus is God’s Son and we believe that God raised Him from the dead, God adopts us into His family and we become one of His children.”

“I’d like to do that,” Jacob said.  “I want to be His child like you are. Do you think He would want me?”

“Oh yes,” she said with a smile. “God sent me here today just for you. He knew you were lost.”

The older lady and one special little boy bowed their heads.  Mrs. Jones led Jacob through a prayer to accept his best Christmas present ever. Just as they said “Amen,” Jacob looked up and spotted his frantic mother talking to the policeman.

He burst through the glass doors and hugged her around the waist.

“Jacob, Jacob, where have you been” she sobbed.

“I was lost, but now I’m found,” he said.

Mrs. Jones walked up and extended her hand to the weary mother.

“This is Mrs. Jones,” Jacob said. “She’s been taking care of me until you came. And look, she bought me a new coat, these shiny boots, these gloves and a hat!”

“You’re an angel,” the thankful mother cried clinging to her small son.

“No, she’s not an angel, mom” Jacob said. “She’s just one of God’s children, and you can be one too.”

For the next two hours, one older woman and one little boy told a young mother about the baby born in Bethlehem who was the Savior of the World. The angels rejoiced that evening as the adoption papers were complete on two more of God’s children. Yes, it was Jacob’s best Christmas ever.

(I hope you enjoyed the story. Tell me, when did you accept God’s greatest gift …Jesus?)

 

24 Responses to Jacob’s Best Christmas Ever

  1. Penny Estabrook December 20, 2013 at 10:38 am #

    I so enjoyed the story!! I accepted God’s greatest gift, Jesus when I was 12 years old at Vacation Bible School 45 years ago. It is an amazing journey!!!!

  2. JR December 20, 2013 at 11:40 am #

    Sharon, this is a great Christmas story, I could not read to the end without tears in my eyes. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Jaime Bartels December 20, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

    Dear Sara I was 13 years old when I first asked Jesus in my life . I always knew about God’s son Jesus. I knew all the stories, the kindness and the miracles that he performed. But when I thirteen I felt a tug in my heart for something more. Like something was missing like I wasn’t complete. So one Sunday after the preacher preached a firey message . I went to the alter and I prayed through and received the holy ghost. It was the most miraculous experience in my life. So to this day he is my lord and he will always be. Not just a baby anymore but my King! AND MY SAVIOR! EMMANUEL ,MERRY CHRISTMAS HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS!

  4. Linda December 20, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

    Sometimes I feel like I’ve missed out on something special because I can’t name the month, day, and year that I accepted Christ as my Savior, and I mean when I really let Him in my heart to live. I was about 8 when I chose to be baptized at church, and though a child in a military family that moved every 3-5 years, we faithfully went to church every week, attended youth group activities, said a family blessing at meal time, and said our bedtime prayers. Even in light of all that, as a child, Jesus was a “somewhere out there” concept that didn’t have anything to do with me personally. As an adult, I attended various churches searching for a church home, somewhere they could “put” Jesus in my heart. But it wasn’t until my husband was diagnosed with cancer and we started attending a friend’s small church, that I really started to understand the intimate relationship a person could have with our Creator. The people there lived out God’s love and covered our family with it at a very difficult time. When my husband passed away, I was angry that God hadn’t healed him in the earthly sense and turned away from anything to do with God. But God and the people at that church didn’t turn away from me, and I was drawn back by a love that defied explanation. My resulting journey with Christ has been a process with days of incredible closeness and days of wandering. Over the 11 years since my husband passed on, my relationship with Christ has grown steadily. He came to live in my heart and life in little bits and pieces until He had all of me. So although I can’t circle a date on my calendar, God’s place in my life is now deeply and firmly established. The journey has been full of pits and detours of my own making, but God’s faithfulness and unconditional love has always called me back, and I can now declare joyfully that I am fully and totally a beloved, cherished child of God. He is my Savior, Redeemer, Comforter, and Father. My greatest regret is that I didn’t raise my children in a church family, but praise God for his persistence in calling all his children to Him. I know that He is calling my sons, and by living in the joy and peace that come from accepting His gift of salvation, I can water the seeds that God has planted.
    (My apologies for such a rambling comment. This is the first time I’ve shared publicly, and I thank you for giving me the opportunity to do so.)

    • Sharon Jaynes December 20, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

      I don’t know the exact date either. I know exactly where I was and that was a summer night when I was 14. But I don’t know the date. Never apologize for rambling here. Writing down the words often help untangle the thoughts.

      • Ms Dusty Hamrick December 20, 2013 at 4:58 pm #

        Have been a Christian for over 30 years and still feel I am only beginning.

        Thank you Sharon, for your email each morning-it is part of my daily reading.

        Hope Christ is never taken out of Christmas!!!!

        God’s Blessings to you and yours.

  5. Kim Reitman December 20, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

    On Monday it will be my spiritual birthday. I have been walking with the Lord for 40 years. What a blessing it has been! Thank you for the beautiful Christmas story and reminder of the true meaning of Christmas.

    • Esther January 9, 2014 at 3:53 am #

      Hello Kim,
      Am a woman of 39 years old in Africa. This morning I woke up scared and almost giving up . I was going through Sharon’s letter and came across your name and somehow I felt the need to ask you to pray for me .Am single , never married and no kids. I don’t understand why am going through this storm. I have fibroids that are due to be surgically removed soon . It’s too much for me . Please pray for me. God bless you

  6. Kimberly Smith December 20, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

    October 2000, I’ll never forget that feeling of being free.. My life has never been the same.

  7. carol anderson December 20, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

    Great story I accepted God’s greatest gift in 1983 at my very first bible study and never looked back.

  8. Diana December 20, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

    Sharon,
    I accepted my great gift just this April and at 55 have some catching up to do. I loved your story and will share it with my little(6’3) twenty three year old son hoping he will accept the greatest Xmas gift much sooner than his mother . Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  9. Terri December 20, 2013 at 3:39 pm #

    Such a Lovely story. Brought a lump to my throat. What a wonderful Christmas Story! 🙂

  10. Deborah December 20, 2013 at 3:50 pm #

    I excepted Jesus when I was 16 and I thank God I am saved

  11. Sara December 20, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

    I was 12 years old and in Sunday School. I have been a child of God for 28 years and Oh what a blessing it has been. I cannot imagine life without having receive the greatest gift ever given for free to anyone who wants it. It is truly the gift that keeps on giving… time has never allowed it to run out ..and those who are facing the end of their lives, those starting out or those inbetween all can still receive it. Now who wouldn’t want a gift that washes all your sin away ?

    Thank You Sharon for your story ..it’s always renewing and refreshing to see the story of Christ’s birth re-told in so many different ways.

    Wishing you and your family a

    Very Merry Christmas …
    sara

  12. Marilyn December 20, 2013 at 5:39 pm #

    I can’t remember a time when I didn’t believe. Two God loving parents raised me in the church almost right across the street. I have been blessed by my parents love for Jesus and God. Both good singers and taught me lots of songs. Very good memories!

    My grandparents lived right next door and they also did a wonderful job bringing me up in a Godly manner.

    I have been Blessed!

  13. Annell December 20, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

    Having been born and raised in the Catholic Church, I was introduced to Jesus a long time ago. While a young woman, I knew when I was messing up, but Jesus and what He represented was not as important to me as who He is and what He represents in my life now. Ageg and many mistakes brought me to my knees before Him. Now, I know Him very intimately. Because of His sacrifice, I know why I was protected during all those years when I was doing my thing and not God’s thing. The opening up of my heart to Christ was not a great epiphany, it was a gradual. Despite my shortcomings, I never closed myself off from God and I think that as my life progressed, He eased in more and more to the point where I started looking “up” when life got hard. Finally, one day this past autumn, He showed me something I know I was not in anyway worthy to see. To explain it does not give credit to the grandeur of what was shown to me. As a result of what I saw, I know that Heaven is real, very, very real. As a result of that event, I get messages to give to people. I am way out my comfort zone in doing this, but I give them anyway. I have no idea why God chose me to do what I do, but I am doing it. Actually, I had been doing it all the time, but it was until I had this vision that I realized it. Now, I understand some of what God wants me to do, but not all. For anyone reading this post who has some doubts about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, they exist one being in three as does Heaven. It has as fragrant a smell as you could possibly imagine. There are no words for it.

    Namaste…
    (This term means ‘The Divine within me recognizes the Divine within you, honors It and bows to It.’ The “Divine” means the presence of Jesus within you)

  14. Jane December 20, 2013 at 8:56 pm #

    Beautiful story thank you for sharing it! I came to God when I was 12 years old. I’m not anywhere I would like to be, but continue my walk with God every day. So much to learn. Thank you for all you do to help us grow.

  15. Andrea December 21, 2013 at 12:19 am #

    Jesus came nto my heart in the summer of 1974. I was nine years old. It wasn’t until this last year that I realized His presence even before that day. It was as if He was calling onand protecting me from such a tiny, young age. I had the blessed opportunity to rededicate my life when my two sons were saved in 1996. We were all three baptized together that same night. Merry Christmas, my dear sisters in Christ.

  16. Mary December 21, 2013 at 1:23 am #

    God invited me to become His child 66 yrs. ago when I was 14. PTL.

  17. Toni December 21, 2013 at 5:51 pm #

    I was 23 and it was on Oct 2, 2004 🙂

  18. Elna December 21, 2013 at 8:36 pm #

    This story got my attention, Sharon, because I have a grandson named Jacob. Like Jacob, I accepted God at a young age but I was in my teens. My Jacob was 14 months old when we almost lost him due to a horrific accident. He pulled a fry-daddy full of hot grease down on him and it hit him on the top of his head and burned him all the way down his body. He was critical for more than a week before the doctors even told us he would live if he didn’t succumb to infections that always sets in with 3rd degree burn victims. He was in Vanderbilt University Hospital in Nashville, Tn. for a month and then we took him home to many, many more months of recovery. Today, Jacob is a miracle with sparkling eyes and the most beautiful smile. He will be 15 yrs. old on the next day after Christmas and he doesn’t have a mark on his face at all even though the grease burned the whole side of his head and ear. Of course, he has scars on his shoulders and torso and also on his legs where they took the skin to make the grafts. He plays baseball and football, fishes and hunts just like most southern boys do. He’s a very sensitive boy even though he doesn’t remember the accident but I feel that sensitivity was another gift from God since he has such empathy for others. When I got the call from the nurse at the hospital (his mother was in shock), we had to drive 8 hours to get to him and I cried and prayed all the way on the trip and called my praying friends and family to begin a prayer chain. I know, without a doubt, that God had Jacob in his hands because the doctor told us after the first month that he had lost many patients with less severe burns than Jacob. I thank you for this precious story and I thank God for all the little Jacobs in this world. God bless you, Sharon.

  19. Sarah December 22, 2013 at 3:11 pm #

    I accepted Jesus in high school on a youth group ski trip. I, too, am unsure of the exact date? But I have experienced His patience and security, as my relationship has grown more intimate over the years. What a faithful Father we share!! Merry Christmas to everyone who visits this site! May God bless each of us as we journey together toward our eternal home! And THANK YOU Sharon for the gift of this yearlong site!! Such a gift! 🙂

  20. Trudy December 24, 2013 at 12:22 am #

    Good Evening Sharon

    I Want To Thank You For Writing This Wonderful Story
    So Well Written Definetly Feel Jesus While Reading This And Alot Of Your Writings
    A True Blessing Thank You 🙂
    I Acepted Jesus When I Was 10 Years Old
    Best Gift I Ever Recived Thank You Jesus For Always Being Close Each And Every Moment Of Every Day 🙂
    I Dearly Love The Footprints Writing
    Dear To My Heart 🙂

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