Ballad of Christmas Present
(A true story)
Christmas is a happy time, with children all aglow,
Thinking of toys and holiday joys, Santa and Mistletoe;
The girls of dolls and clothes and such, boys of trucks and horns
They know will be beneath the tree on early Christmas morn.
Yet there are children in our land who do not know it so,
Whose Christmas fare is sparse and spare, whose Christmas hopes are low.
It is Christmas in Chicago, a small department store,
In a neighborhood where all that are there, are desperately poor.
A very little girl comes in, her clothes are cheap and worn;
She shivers with cold in a coat that is old, old and tattered and torn.
She clutches the hand of a smaller boy, while craning her neck to see,
With him behind, trying to find where all the toys might be.
They see the shelves of countless toys; each heaves a glad little sigh;
All it seems, in their wildest dreams, are here before their eyes.
And as they move along the aisles, in utter awe they bask.
Bright eyes glow, and grow and grow—is it so much to ask?
But in their hearts they sadly know that it can never be—
Oh, but then, just to pretend—such wondrous things to see.
A man is watching the children, as he has done before;
Every year he watches here, in this same department store.
He comes with his holiday bonus, and a heart that reaches out,
So in his way, he can say, what Christmas is about.
He makes a sign to the sales girl, a little wave of the hand;
Well she knows, and quickly goes, to where the children stand.
“Well, well,” says she to the children, “Whatever have we here?”
They clutch tight, in sudden fright, pretending not to hear.
Dropping the toys in their places, they look around to fly—
But she with a grin, glancing at him, standing there nearby,
Picks up the space commando and the doll with the golden hair,
And blinking her eye, so not to cry, gives them to that pair.
“Santa Claus was here today,” said she with a choke in her voice,
“And told me then, to make sure when you two had made a choice,
To give these toys to you to have, before you went away,
So they could be beneath your tree on early Christmas day.”
They took the toys with trembling hands, eyes so wide and bright,
And all four knew the spirit true; it filled their hearts that night.
He paid the bill without a word, emotion holding sway,
On modest means, he lived his dreams, waiting for this day.
For so he spent his Christmas, each and every year,
With simple joys for girls and boys replacing bitter tears.
True Christmas came to four that day; their hearts had touched each other,
And way up high above the sky 'twas noted by Another.