Mrs. S. A. Collins



Christmas Eve

by Mrs. S. A. Collins

   "Christmas eve will soon be here,

And I'd like to do something great,"

Said little Maggie Miller,

As she stood waiting at the gate.

Her papa was away from home,

She was waiting there for him:

And thus she mused all to herself

"Why can't I help poor Jim?"


  Jim was a little cripple,

Who lived across the way;

He had not been able to walk

Since two years, Christmas day.

Then by a dreadful accident,

He was crippled for life,

And time seemed very long to him

With no plaything but his knife.


  His mother was a widow,

And they were very poor.

She earned the little that they had

But they needed a great deal more;

So Maggie 'stood there planning,

What she could do or say,

To make little Jim as happy

As herself on Christmas day.


  She soon looked up and down the street,

Her papa came in view,

And then she said, "I'll ask of him,

He will tell me what to do."

When her papa saw her waiting,

He watched her thoughtful brow

Then said, "Maggie darling,"

What are you thinking now?"


  Then she told him that she would like

To make a Christmas eve

For little Jim across the street,

If she could just conceive

Some way to make him happy.

She would do all she could,

But if he would only help here,

How much better if he would!


   So he told her to imagine

What she would like to have done.

They would all turn in and help her,

And make Christmas "A No. 1."

First she planned a dinner,

A real grand Christmas one,

And then when that was finished,

Her plans were just begun.


  Papa should get a Christmas tree,

And she would hang it full,

With pop-corn, cakes, and candy,

Some mittens, cap and ball,

Some shoes, a drum, and some nice books,

To read when he was sad.

And after planning all these things,

Maggie's heart was glad.


  But then she thought his mother too

Must have something on the tree,

So she turned to her papa,

And said, "Papa, what shall it be?"

"I'll attend to that my darling,

I think your hands are full

If you do all you’ve planned to do,

And each day go to school.”


  As Christmas day drew nearer,

You should have seen that busy child;

As she put her plans to action,

Singing gaily all the while.

When the bells on Christmas eve,

Rang out good tidings o'er the earth,

Little Jim looked sadly out,

To the scenes of childish mirth.


  Then he turned his head toward mother,

All the friend on earth he had,

And he said with heart most broken,

"Why can't we make Christmas glad?"

Then she answered, "Now my darling,

Do not murmur at your lot,

God has told us in his promise,

E'en the sparrows aren't forgot."


  Just then came a gentle tapping,

Close by, on their own door sill,

And this song came ringing softly,

On earth peace, to all good will.

And before she had ceased speaking,

Wide the kitchen door was swung,

And standing there within the doorway

Was that tree with presents hung.


  Just behind it, 'mid the branches,

Little Maggie's curly head,

Seemed to them just like a fairy,

Or an angel there instead.

But her papa who had helped her,

This token of respect to place

Right there in the open doorway,

Looked into that happy face.


  Then he said the bible tells us

We should always help the poor,

And if I did not heed its teachings,

I should be an evil doer.

So he went down in his pocket,

Out he took his well filled purse,

And without a word or gesture,

Counted out, enough of course,


  To buy wood and what they needed

To keep them snug and warm.

And I think his heart was lighter

For this gift on Christmas morn.

Little Maggie, too, was happy,

For the good that she had done.

So you see that life is pleasure,

Doing good deeds, one by one.