Her hands shook as she placed the last buttons in the drawer. Abigail went to the corner and pulled out the broom. With careful steps she made her way outside and began sweeping the front walk. Dust billowed up mixed with the small amount of snow that had fallen. She coughed and leaned against the window. A tear trickled down her cheek.
“There, there child,” Mrs. Van Berg whispered, drawing Abigail to her side. “There, there, everything will be okay.”
“Why did he have to die?” Abigail whimpered. “Now Lucy and her little brothers won’t have presents for Christmas.”
“I wish I could offer the poor woman a job here but she needs to take care of her children and we already have you.”
Abigail looked up at Mrs. Van Berg. “Lucy wants a job. Maybe she could work here too.”
Mrs. Van Berg smiled sadly. “I would love to hire Lucy but I’m afraid that we can’t afford to pay another girl.”
“Then… then…” Abigail paused. Could she really? Could she give up that doll she so wanted? “Give her my job.”
Mrs. Van Berg took a step back. “What? Your job? But what will you do?”
Abigail shrugged. “Daddy still has a job. I’ll get something for Christmas. Lucy won’t without this job. Please, Mrs. Van Berg, please let me do this.”
“But Abigail, you almost have enough money for the doll you wanted. Are you just going to give up on that?”
Abigail shook her head. “No, but right now Lucy needs the money more then I need the doll.”
Mrs. Van Berg stroked Abigail’s cheek. She drew Abigail back to her side. “Alright, if it means that much to you, I will give Lucy the job.”
“Thank you, thank you.” Abigail reached up and planted a kiss on Mrs. Van Berg’s cheek.
She ran down the street to the Walsh’s house. Without knocking she burst in. Mrs. Walsh and Lucy both looked up from the dress they were repairing. Two of Lucy’s brothers dragged sticks inside and poked them into the small fireplace.
“Abigail, are you okay?” Lucy asked jumping up and hurrying to her friend.
“Yes, yes. I’m fine,” Abigail said. “I found a job for you. At the Van Berg’s store.”
“But you work there,” Lucy protested. “That’s your job.”
“Not anymore,” Abigail smiled. “It’s yours. You need it more than I do. The doll will wait.”
Lucy stared at her. She looked towards her mother who had nothing to say either.
“Well, what are you waiting for? Mrs. Van Berg needs her windows washed and the front step swept. Go on, go do it.” Abigail pushed Lucy out of the door and waved her down the road.
For one moment Abigail wanted to call Lucy back. She had been waiting so long for that doll and now she would have to wait longer.
Abigail turned to Mrs. Walsh. The woman was still seated at the table but now her hands where still. A tear glistened on her eyelashes. Abigail slowly walked towards her stepping over the blocks that littered the floor.
“Yes, Mrs. Walsh?”
“That was a brave thing to do,” Mrs. Walsh said. “I know how hard that must have been for you.”
Abigail thought about denying the pain but couldn’t. “It was; it will be. But you and Lucy need the money more then I need that doll. Buy something for the little ones.”
Mrs. Walsh stood and for the third time that morning Abigail found herself being pressed close to someone. “You are an angel. Like the widow with her two mites you have given all you could. Thank you.”
Abigail smiled. “I’m glad I could help. Merry Christmas.”
Abigail walked down the road and waved at Lucy, who swept cheerfully at the front of the store. Lucy waved back and Abigail suddenly felt better.
Lucy’s smile was present enough and Abigail knew that come Christmas morning there would be something special for her. And she still had her father.
As she walked towards her house she remembered something the minister had said just that Sunday.
“God gave His only Son as a gift for all mankind. He didn’t have too, but out of His great love He did. What can we do this Christmas season to thank God for His precious gift to us?
“Do not make light of Christ. Without His birth we would never have the peace we have. Give out of all you have this Christmas and see what God will do for you.”
With a light heart Abigail entered her own yard. She had given out of all she had and the world seemed a better place for it. It was the season for celebration and she would celebrate the gift of Christ with all her heart.
Stepping into her house she was embraced by the light of her family. She had all she needed in them and Christ’s gift of life.