Matthew 2:1-2

1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,

2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

Bethann's Christmas Prayer

Author: Marilyn Morgan Helleberg

‘Put that doll down!’ growled Mrs. Skorp, owner of Willow Creek’s only store. ‘You’ll break her!’
‘Oh no,’ said Bethann. ‘I wouldn’t hurt her. I love her!’

‘Love her, do you?’ Well, you’d better get over that in a hurry.’ Mrs. Skorp whisked the doll out of Bethann’s arms. ‘That’s the most expensive doll in the store, and with your dad laid off.’

‘It’s o.k.,’ said Bethann, her wistful brown eyes scanning the drawn face of the middle-aged shopkeeper. ‘I won’t touch her again until she’s mine. She’s my Christmas prayer!’

‘Oh? I suppose you’ve been talking to Jesus again?’

‘Why, yes! I have!’ Bethann’s pale, plain looking face took on a sudden glow. ‘Last night, I talked to Him a long time, and when I went to sleep an ange1 with golden wings floated down on a cloud and told me I could have one Christmas prayer answered this year. I could have anything I asked for, but only one thing. I’ve asked for Betsy.’


‘Yes, that’s what I’ve named her.’

Mrs. Skorp tossed her hands over her head and walked away. ‘Angels now!’ she muttered.

By the time she got home, Bethann was near to tears. ‘I can’t stand her, Mommie! Mrs. Skorp is the meanest lady in the whole world!’

‘Don’t be too hard on her, dear,’ said her mother. ‘Mrs. Skorp used to be a very nice lady before the accident.’
‘The accident?’

‘Yes. It was before you were born. The Skorps were driving home from Kansas City, after spending Christmas with relatives, when they hit a patch of ice and went off the road. Mr. Skorp was killed instantly, and their baby daughter died a couple of days later. Mrs. Skorp wasn’t even hurt, at least, her body wasn’t.’

‘I didn’t even know she had a baby,’ said Bethann, fingering the hem of her skirt.

‘After that, Mrs. Skorp just kind of dried up. She stopped going anywhere, closed herself off from everybody, even quit going to church. Some say she’s been mad at God ever since.’

‘I’ve never heard of anyone being mad at God,’ said Bethann.

At bedtime, she knelt down and started talking with her Friend. ‘Lord, You know Mrs. Skorp,, the one with the pinched up face and the screechy voice? You probably haven’t heard from her lately because, well, I guess she’s been mad at You for a long time. Anyway, Jesus, I’ve been thinking, and I’ve figured out a way to get her over being mad at You. So if You don’t mind, I’d like to take back that Christmas prayer for my Betsy doll. Instead, Lord, would You please send Mrs. Skorp a new baby girl? Then maybe she won’t be mad at You anymore. Thank You, Jesus.’

After school the next day, Bethann stopped at the store again, only this time, she was very careful to not even look at Betsy.

‘Mrs. Skorp, I talked to Jesus again last night. . .’ The tall, gaunt lady grunted and turned away, but Bethann continued. ‘I asked Him to give you a new baby girl.’

‘You WHAT?!’ said Mrs. Skorp, wheeling around. ‘You really have lost your senses! Besides, if there is a God, He sure doesn’t answer prayers. Now you get home!’

On the day before Christmas, Bethann made a paper card for Mrs. Skorp. The shopkeeper was alone in the store when Bethann tiptoed in. The woman was staring at a framed picture, clutching it so tightly Bethann saw that her knuckles were white.

‘I brought you a Christmas card, Mrs. Skorp.’ Surprised, the woman laid the picture on the counter and reached for the card. She opened it and read the childish scrawl: ‘Jesus loves you. And so do I. Bethann.’

Mrs. Skorp coughed and turned away. That was when Bethann sneaked a look at the picture on the counter. She saw a beautiful, smiling young woman holding a curly haired baby in her arms.

‘Is that your baby that died?’ asked Bethann.

Mrs. Skorp slumped into the old library chair and put her head in her hands. Her name was Betsy,’ she said. Bethann stared at her. The woman’s body began to shake as deep, low sobs poured out of her. The little girl tiptoed over and put her hand timidly on Mrs. Skorp’s knee.

‘I asked Jesus to send you a new little girl to love,’ said Bethann. ‘Are you crying because He didn’t answer my prayer?’
‘No,’ said Mrs. Skorp. She scooped Bethann up into her lap, pressing the little head close to her heart and rocking back and forth, back and forth, in the straight chair.

‘No, my little. . . darling. ‘I’m crying because. . .because He did.’

Twas the Night Before Christmas


For Unto Us A Child Is Born