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A Christmas Story: John 3:16

Updated: Dec 26, 2023

Merry Christmas from Dawn Dyson Ministries.

Please enjoy this original Christmas Story from author, Dawn Dyson,

and consider the Father/Son bond that endures all time.

A Christmas Story

by Dawn Dyson

Descending down over the edge of a glass counter in a local shop, a shy boy was handed a gift from above. He held it out at arm’s length, awkwardly, and uttered a near-silent phrase of gratitude toward the planked floor. Though it was the Christmas season, he refused to open it, himself feeling, and so becoming, unworthy of human kindness in any form. Such random and far-stretched acts made him suspicious rather than joyful like so many others seemed to be at Christmastime.

He carried the box home from the old, bright-eyed shopkeeper’s mercantile, its flat surface collecting various snowflake crystals—tiny white and rainbow-coloured jewels, until they melted and seeped into the brown paper. Tucked under the arm of his frayed tweed coat, he was half hiding it as he wandered hurriedly down a long, winding, snow-driven back street—nearly dark but for the gaslights. He refused to tell his parents about the brown paper package and instead placed it high on a shelf in the back corner of his closet, where it commenced gathering dust.

Once grown, the young man ventured from his modest home to enter the world through the gate of a war. He survived the battles presented, at least physically, but he could not erase the senselessness of all the things he saw. They were heavy on his waking mind. He married, though after a time of domestication, he could not recall his reasons for doing so. His sense of family, belonging, his hope of human love, slipped through his fingers the harder he tried. Upon word at the passing of his widowed mother, he returned to clean out and sell the modest house at the end of the winding street he traveled daily as a boy.

It was the very last of the items he found—the shopkeeper’s gift. The brown paper was aged and dirty. He was struck that it was still in the very place where he left it all those many years ago. When he lifted it, underneath he found a small, yellow envelope with his name written in his late father’s scroll.

He sat down in the middle of the now-empty room of his youth. Being familiar with disappointment, and so with perceptually nothing else to lose of his life, he finally pulled the tail end of the twine bow, binding the box together for decades, and he sheepishly peered down inside—a black Bible—something he never had much desire to read.

He unsealed the envelope last touched by his father—how many years ago, he could not know. The letter was fuller with words than he anticipated, and he read,

“Son, I am not well. You are unreachable. I was looking through some of your belongings, thinking of all the things I should have said to you, but somehow neglected. The amusing thing to me is how distracted we all are from the precious gift of life we have been given—we don’t even live it while we are alive. We never seem to find the time for the things that matter most. Now I find I am at the end of mine and we are apart.
I do not know what is in this box of yours, or even who it is for. But I want you to know I think there is a God after all because I have no connection to you except for Him. And if this place of His called Heaven, that all these people totter off to churches to hear about, exists, I pray God would let me in to it. Because how else would I ever find the time to tell you all the things I should have?
And I got to thinking, would it be Heaven at all without my only son? You are distant from me. I don’t know if you are alive or if the fight has taken you from me already. But I pray that one day you will come back to get this gift. And I pray that you make it all the way to Heaven, because I never knew you. That was all—I’m the most sorry of all things to say—my fault. I never understood the immense value found in a father and son bond. It is so strong a gift, it travels beyond this confounded world. I honestly don’t see how such a thing would ever end.” It was signed, “Forever Yours, Son. ~ Your Father.”

Tears of war, tears of loneliness, injustice, separation and pain—all ran down his shy face at once.

As if through the ears of a boy, he heard the church bells down the street reverberate in the recesses of his heart. He found himself running down the same street, but with urgency, with the Bible in his hand. He did not understand what was happening. He did not understand the depths of the gift in his hands, but tears continued to stream down his flushed cheeks and he did not care who stared at him, or why. He was running toward his Father. He was going to see Him one day, in a place where there was no more war, no tears, no sorrow, no pain—no more questions. He had been all around the world for far lesser causes and had never found an honorable way out—until today.

He sat in the back pew of the stone church long after the service was over. Once his eyes were clear, he opened the cover of the black Bible. The shopkeeper had written these words:

“You may be destined for a long and difficult life in a world where things are not always as they seem. I have not seen much of this world, but I can tell you this Book is true. It is the only thing that makes sense of life. If you read it, and stick to it, you will make it Home safe into your Father’s arms no matter how far you roam. This Book tells the story of the true gift that was given to us a long time ago—a Baby, holy, born in a manger, that God sent to save our souls. You will need to unlearn many lies in this world, but never forget one thing, because it is the truth: God is love. He knows how and when to find you. Merry Christmas, boy.”

The man realized he could have opened the gift nearly a lifetime ago. Like his father, somehow the evil in the world had distracted him from the gift of life—he had not been truly living it. He rose up from that pew a different man—a man no longer bent down by the heavy world, but lifted up by the Christ Who solved every earthly and eternal problem. He shot off out into the crisp night air to find his wife, for he suddenly remembered his reasons. He was suddenly overwhelmed with love, a sense of Christmas, a sense of Home, resurrected through a Father/Son bond forged long ago.

As he ran back through the winding, snow-driven street, crystal snowflakes gracing his skin, he lifted his eyes, smiled for perhaps the first time in his life, and prayed to God that he would never forget to live with love. It is a gift that truly makes life worth living. Nothing else will do.

And this is the meaning, and the miracle, of Christmas, as the old shopkeeper knew quite well.


“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16, King James).


Merry Christmas

from Dawn Dyson Ministries





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