Natalina’s Christmas Wish
(Isa.52:7-10; Heb.1:1-6; Jn.1:1-18)
What is it about Christmas? What is it that fills our hearts with such excitement and joy at this time of year?
In 1892, William Dean Howells wrote a story called ‘Christmas Every Day’. [i]
It’s about a little girl who wishes that every day could be Christmas Day. Her wish is granted, but she soon learns an important lesson about what Christmas really means.
Jo Fiore, a great friend and fine poet, has kindly turned this story into a poem for us, and I’d like to share it with you today.
NATALINA’S CHRISTMAS WISH
Natalina was a girl who just loved Christmas Day
She loved it so, she wished that it would never go away.
Her name meant ‘Little Christmas’ – surely that gave her the right
To ask the Christmas Fairy for a favour one starry night.
She wrote to her, ‘I have a wish, oh! Christmas Fairy, dear,
That Christmas comes every day – and not just once a year’.
So she sent her letter off, and set her mind to things
Like trimming trees and buying gifts and all that Christmas brings.
On Christmas Eve a letter came, ‘I’ll grant your wish my dear,
But you seem a little greedy, so let’s make it for a year’.
The next day Natalina woke and joined her family.
‘Merry Christmas’ they all greeted, as they gathered ‘round the tree.
There were presents going left and there were presents going right;
There were cards and bright red ribbons, there were squeals of great delight.
They dined the whole day long till their tummies cried ‘No more!’
On turkeys stuffed with cranberries, baked potatoes by the score.
Ham and raisins, nuts and puddings, cakes and sweets and at last,
They all thought they ate too much – tomorrow they would fast.
But tomorrow came, and once again, around the tree they came;
It all seemed like the day before; it all just seemed the same.
And only Natalina knew what was really happening
One day she would tell them – ‘twas SHE who changed this thing.
They’d bow and scrape and thank her and throw compliments her way.
They’d all be very happy, for each day was Christmas Day.
But as the months passed by, everyone in that town
Started to feel unhappy – and all began to frown.
They kept on buying presents until everyone was poor,
And as for buying turkeys, they weren’t there as before.
The trees in all the forests did all just disappear,
As people needed Christmas trees ev’ry day of the year.
Natalina saw what she had done, and felt so very sad.
She confessed to all around her: ‘Please forgive me – I’ve been bad!’
‘I’ll find the Christmas Fairy and I’ll beg her please, oh please!
Can she cancel Christmas for at least one thousand years?
Or maybe for a hundred years, or maybe only ten
Or maybe she could make it, like it used to be – and then
I’ll never wish for something out of pride or out of greed,
And Christmas coming once a year is truly all I need.’
The Fairy heard her mournful cry and promised to restore
Natalina’s much-loved Christmas Day to how it was before.
‘There’s one more thing’, the Fairy said, ‘I’d like to say to you,
If you’re really seeking happiness, there’s something you must do.
You must ask the Baby Jesus in your heart to come and stay,
For you’ll find his peace will make each day a happy Christmas Day!’
When you celebrate Christmas today, I want you to remember this story. Christmas is not about the food. It’s not about the trees or the presents. It’s not even about the fun.
Christmas is about love – it’s about giving and receiving love.
For Christmas is about Jesus, the son of God who is love itself. Jesus came to us as a vulnerable little baby, to teach us how to live and how to love.
Jesus is the only true gift at Christmas time.
‘There’s another thing,’ the Fairy said, ‘I need to say to you,
If you really need peace and joy, there’s something you must do.
You must ask our dear Lord Jesus in your heart to come and stay,
For you’ll find his love will make each day, a happy Christmas Day!’
[i] Howell, W.D. Christmas Every Day and Other Stories Told for Children (1892).