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Thursday, December 21, 2006

The True Story of a Christmas Miracle

A Christmas Story -- A John Harricharan Article

Long, long ago, in a country far, far away, a littleboy lived with his parents in a two room house in asmall, tropical village. He could not have been morethan four or five years old and his entire experienceof life was limited to the fishing and farming village,his neighbors and friends.

It wasn't that the little boy was unhappy. Given hissituation, he was a rather cheerful, optimistic lad,but times were hard for his parents. The village wasrecovering from the recent floods that had wiped outhis parents livelihood. And the Christmas holidays werejust around the corner.

Now in this little village of long ago, people ofvarious religions lived and worked together in harmony.Everyone enjoyed each other's religious holidays andeveryone looked forward to the celebrations whereChristians, Hindus, Muslims and others would gather.The parents would provide gifts for the children andlittle boys and little girls would squeal with delightas they played with their simple toys.

But this Christmas would be a little different becauseof the floods. There would be celebrations, but nothinglike the ones of the past year. It was all the parentsof the little boy could do to keep their large familyfed and clothed. Even so, he wanted a special gift.

It wasn't an expensive gift by today's standards, butin that village of long ago, as Christmas approached,any gift would be considered expensive. Yes, you and Iwould probably smile when we realize that all thelittle boy wanted was a balloon -- just a simple littleblue balloon.

You see, the little boy had seen pictures of brightlycolored balloons and had even seen balloons thatbelonged to children of more affluent families. But hehad never had his own balloon and so he longed for one.In the village, balloons were only sold in one shop andthat shop was far from the little boy's home.

And the cost of a balloon? Just one penny! You wouldthink that a penny was hardly anything, but in thosedays, literally every penny had to be used verycarefully. When the little boy's parents had to choose between food and a balloon, the choice was naturally food.

The little boy was very sad. For weeks he had beenthinking of the lovely, blue balloon he would get for Christmas. After another day or so, his mother, likeall good mothers, determined to find her little boy apenny to get his blue balloon. Again, like mostmothers, she sacrificed her own needs to get her son his wish.

Imagine how happy the little boy was! Clutching thepenny tightly in his small hand, he set off for thestore. He did not care that he would have to walk foralmost a mile in the blazing hot sun to get hisballoon. He moved as fast as his little legs wouldcarry him -- sometimes half-running and then walkingquickly. Now he would have his blue balloon.

But fate played a trick on the little boy. There was noblue balloon at the store -- only one balloon was left.And it was a drab green one, a color he didn't reallylike. He probably thought that a green balloon wasbetter than no balloon at all, so he bought and paid for it. But things were to get much worse very quickly.

As he was returning home, he decided to inflate theballoon by blowing air into it. Suddenly, there was aloud sound and the balloon burst into pieces. At first,the boy couldn't believe it. He just stopped and staredat the rubbery shards in his hand. After all thetrouble to get this one balloon and then, just like inlife, in a split second it was gone.

He continued walking home and although he was a bravelittle chap, tears streamed down his cheeks. After all,he was just four or five years old. His parents wouldnot be able to spare another penny to buy a replacementballoon. And even if they were able to, there were noballoons left in the store. By now, his tiny feet weretired from all the walking so he sat down on a little rock at the side of the road.

That's when he saw the stranger. He wasn't quite surewhy he hadn't seen the man sooner. He must have been too absorbed in his own problems to notice anything. Rarely were there strangers who came through thevillage. The man smiled a kindly smile and inquired ofthe little boy why he had tears in his eyes.

The little boy explained his plight. With a knowingwink, the man reached into a bag he was carrying on his shoulder and pulled out a small box. "I have a gift foryou," he said as he handed the box to the little boy.

"Go ahead. Open it," he continued. Imagine the surpriseof the little boy as he peered into the box and sawthree, uninflated, beautiful blue balloons, each onewith a picture of a star on it. He turned to say "thankyou" to the stranger, but there was nobody there. Theman was gone.

Perhaps it was an angel, thought the little boy. Ormaybe the stranger just disappeared into thin air. Butthat would be magic, reasoned the little fellow. Yousee, there is magic in the heart and soul of everylittle boy and every little girl on Earth. They knowit, but they forget the magic as they grow older.

Years have come and years have gone, but that was oneof the happiest Christmas I ever spent. Every once in awhile, or perhaps, even more often than once in awhile, if I choose to sit quietly and revisit thatscene of yester year, I could still see the kindness inthe stranger's eyes and the beautiful stars on the blue balloons.

It was a great lesson that I learned that day.Sometimes when life takes something away from you, itis only because it wants to bring you something muchbetter. Life took my little balloon because it wantedme to have three beautiful, bigger and better balloons.

We may not understand why things happen the way they do, but this I know: If we trust the process and wekeep on keeping on, the dark valleys of life willeventually lead into beautiful fields of light andsplendor. You are cared for and protected by a Forcethat transcends time and space -- a Force that hasexisted forever and that loves you unconditionally.

I wish all of you a wonderful holiday season. It doesn't matter which holiday you celebrate or notcelebrate, we are all in one great celebration, thecelebration of life. May this season and the coming new year be filled withpeace, joy, prosperity and all good things for you.



John Harricharan is an outstanding businessman, lecturer and award-winning author. You can download his book "When You Can Walk on Water, Take the Boat" for free here:

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