Jesus at My House

by Marianna Bartold


 Not too long ago, a little girl who lived down the street came down to "help" us do our outside Christmas decorating (we all know how kids are fascinated by Christmas decorating). Considering she was only six years old, she was very creative in her suggestions. My daughter and I were arranging silk poinsettias around the outside Nativity set, and our visitor was very intrigued.


This little child always reminded me of an abandoned waif. Nobody in her family ever seemed to have any time for her. She wandered around alone quite frequently. When she visited us, she stayed as long as possible. It was rare when anyone called for her but the time always came when she had to go home. We never allowed her to walk home in the dark.


The sun sunk below the horizon and again nobody called for her. The weather had been bright and sunny but the temperatures were dropping. She was cold this time because she not dressed well for the weather, but she didn't complain.


She had plopped down into the grass, kneeling and watching my daughter and me. I noticed she was shivering. I asked my son to run inside and get her a coat, wondering within myself at the same time, "What can her family be thinking?"


Time seemed momentarily suspended as I thought of all the children who were not lovingly cared for. And I was sad, thinking of my little baby, who I loved so tenderly, whom I miss so much, and who left us too soon. I wanted to scoop this little girl up and take her into my home.


Then suddenly the little darling asked me, "Why do you always have the Baby Jesus at your house at Christmas time? You had Him last year and the year before that. And I think the year before that..."


In the solemn way little children have, she asked "You always have Jesus at your house, don't you?" And finally, pointing to the Infant Jesus in our outside Nativity set, she said, "And you always have Him at Christmas."


I answered, "Yes, because Christmas is Jesus' birthday. I think that's a nice way to remember His birthday, don't you?" Like all innocent souls, she accepted that without a qualm.


But I thought about what she had said.


This little girl's visit and her very serious inquiry was a reminder for me - a mom with five living children and one in heaven, who often feels overwhelmed and yes, even a bit too sad when I miss my son, my father, my sister, my grandparents - that Jesus is the reason for the season. He is always the reason for our hope - in this life and the next.


The little one doesn't know it, but she gave me a Christmas gift. She helped me remember that Jesus is at our house - day after day and year after year after year. She reminded me that Jesus comes to us in ways we never expect, but always in humble ways - like a little child shivering in the cold.



"And this shall be a sign unto you:

You shall find the infant

wrapped in swaddling clothes

and laid in a manger…"



© Jesus at My House from the December 1998

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