Gee Mail

All that stuff that the grandparents forward….

Christmas-Because of Love

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A brother and sister had made their usual hurried,
obligatory pre-Christmas visit to the little farm where dwelt their elderly
parents with their small herd of horses. The farm was where the siblings
had grown up. The farm had been named Lone Pine Farm because of the one
lone pine tree, which topped the hill behind the farm. Through the years
the tree had become a talisman to the old man and his wife, and a landmark in
the country side. The siblings had fond memories of their childhood here,
but the city hustle and bustle added more excitement to their lives and called
them away to a different life.

The old folks no longer showed their horses. The
years had taken their toll and getting out to the barn on those frosty mornings
was getting harder, but it gave them a reason to get up each morning and a
reason to live. They sold a few foals each year, and the horses were their
earthly reason for joy in the morning and contentment at day’s end.

As they prepared to leave, the siblings angrily
confronted their parents. “Why do you not at least dispose of the Old
One. She is no longer of use to you. It’s been years since you’ve
had foals from her. You should cut corners and save so you can have more
for yourselves. How can this old worn out horse bring you anything but
expense and work? Why do you keep her anyway?”

The old man looked down at his worn boots, holes in
the toes, scuffed at the barn floor and replied, “Yes, I could use a pair of new
boots.” His arm slid defensively about the Old One’s neck. As he
drew her near with gentle caressing and rubbed her softly behind her ears, he
quietly replied, “We keep her because of love.

Nothing else…just love.”

Baffled and irritated, the young folks wished their
parents a Merry Christmas and headed back toward the city as darkness

stole through the valley. The parents shook their heads in sorrow that

it had not been a happy visit, and tears fell upon their cheeks. How is it

that these young folks could not understand the peace of the love that

filled their hearts?

So it was that, because of the unhappy leave-taking,
no one noticed the insulation smoldering on the frayed wires in the

old barn. None saw the first spark fall. None, that is, but the Old One.

In a matter of minutes, the whole barn was ablaze and
the hungry flames were licking at the loft full of hay. With a cry of
horror and despair, the man shouted to his wife to call for help as he raced

to the barn to save their beloved horses. But the flames were roaring now,
and the blazing heat drove him back. He sobbed as he sank to the ground,
helpless before the fire’s fury. His wife, back from calling for help,
cradled him in her arms. Clinging to each other, they wept at their loss.

By the time the fire department arrived only smoking, glowing ruins

were left. The man and his wife, exhausted from their grief, huddled

together before the barn. They were speechless as they rose from
the cold snow-covered ground. They nodded thanks to the firemen,

as there was nothing anyone could do now.

The man turned to his wife, resting her white head upon his shoulders

as his shaking old hands clumsily dried her tears with a frayed red

bandana. Brokenly he whispered, “We have lost much, but God has
spared our home on this eve of Christmas. Let us gather strength and climb
the hill to the old pine where we have sought comfort in times of despair.
We will look down upon our home and give thinks to God that it has been spared
and pray for the precious gifts that have been taken from us. And so, he
took her by the hand and slowly helped her up the snowy hill as he brushed aside
his own tears with the back of his old and weathered hand.

The journey up the hill was hard for their old bodies
in the steep snow. As they stepped over the little knoll at the crest of
the hill, they paused to rest. Looking up to the top of the hill, the
couple gasped and fell to their knees in amazement at the incredible

beauty before them.

Seemingly, every glorious, brilliant star in the heavens was caught

up in the glittering, snow-frosted branches of their beloved pine.

It was aglow with heavenly candles, and poised on its top most bough
was a crystal crescent moon that glistened like spun glass. Never had a
mere mortal created a Christmas tree such as this. They were breathless

as the old man held his wife tighter in his arms.

Suddenly, the man gave a cry of wonder and incredible
joy. Amazed and mystified, he took his wife by the hand and pulled her
forward. There, beneath the tree in resplendent glory and in a mist
hovering over shadows glistening in the night, was their Christmas gift.

Bedded down about the Old One close to the trunk of
the tree was the entire herd, safe. At the first hint of smoke, she had
pushed the door ajar with her muzzle and had led the horses through it.
Slowly and with great dignity, never looking back, she had led them up the hill,
stepping cautiously through the snow. The foals were frightened and dashed
about. The skittish yearlings looked back at the crackling, hungry flames
and tucked their tails under them as they licked their lips and hopped like
rabbits. The mares that were in foal, with a new year’s crop of babies,
pressed uneasily against the Old One as she moved calmly up the hill to safety
beneath the pine. Now she lay among them and gazed at the faces of the old
man and his wife. Those she loved, she had not disappointed. Her
body was brittle with years and she was tired from the climb, but her golden
eyes were filled with devotion as she offered her gift…because of love.
Nothing else…just love.

Tears flowed as the old couple shouted their praise
and joy, and again the peace of love filled their hearts.

This is a true story…

an inspirational message sent with the hope that it will make your day –

and your Christmas season –

just a little bit brighter.


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