🎄 The Ornament (Honorable Mention)
by Maria Taormina
Elise sat listening to Mrs. O’Leary at Bible school telling the Christmas story. As the class ended, she gave each child a Christmas ornament with a scene of baby Jesus in a manger with Mary and Joseph, three Wise men on camels and the Star of Bethlehem shining brightly in the sky. In gold writing circling the top was “Jesus Christ is King.”
As Elise walked home from school she was busy looking at the ornament. She started across the street and didn’t see or hear the car until it was too late. She lay unconscious by the front bumper.
“She walked right out in front of the car! I tried to stop! Jesus! Oh, Jesus! Help her!” The driver of the car screamed hysterically. She slumped down by Elise crying uncontrollably.
Elise lay on the cot in the Emergency Room, her mother sat by her side.
“She should be fine, a few bruises and scratches, a mild concussion. Her wrist is broken. Keep it in the splint until you see a hand surgeon.” Dr. Bruce said to Elise’s mother. “Elise, you had someone watching over you today; this could have been a lot worse. Take it easy for a couple days. It’s Christmas Eve, let’s get you out of here.”
Elise lay in her bed at home as her mother tucked in the covers around her and kissed her on the forehead. “Mom, where’s my ornament?”
“The one Mrs. O’Leary gave me when I left Bible study.”
“I didn’t see an ornament. I’m just thankful you’re OK. I should have picked you up at school. You said you were old enough to walk home on your own and look what happened.” She started to cry.
“Mom it will be fine. You work hard for us. With daddy fighting in the war, I need to help. I’m a big girl now.”
As she lay in bed Mrs. O’ Leary’s Christmas story crossed her mind. She thought of Jesus Christ the King and pictured in her mind the crown from the hamburger shop, but it quickly faded to a crown of thorns. She mentally retraced her steps before the car hit her. Where could that ornament be? The next thing she knew she was walking outside, following a big bright star. Where was she? Where is my ornament? She headed toward a small building off in the distance. The star was so bright. She walked following it for what seemed like miles.
She approached a stable. “Mom! Mrs. O’Leary!” She yelled as she walked inside. “What is that smell?” She stood with people that looked familiar but she did not know. “Where’s my ornament? My wrist hurts. What’s going on?” She heard a baby cry and walked up to a small wooden box. “It’s you, Jesus Christ the King! Mrs. O’Leary told me about you. She blinked, and He was gone. Tired from the events of the day she crawled into the wooden box to rest. She would wait to see Baby Jesus again. She called out for her dog but instead a donkey, cow and lamb peered down at her.
She thought of her own comfy bed, but she lay in a wooden box with straw for a mattress. The next thing she knew Baby Jesus was leaning over the manger. Not crying like a baby but talking like he was an adult. “I am Jesus Christ the King. You, Elise, where created by Me, born in my image and likeness. Pray, serve others, talk of Jesus Christ the King and love one another.”
“Elise, are you alright?” She felt her mom’s hand on her forehead. “You were calling out ‘Jesus Christ the King where’s my ornament’.” She looked up at her mother and fell back asleep.
Christmas morning arrived. Elise thought Santa might not come because she wasn’t paying attention when she crossed the street and caused the accident. She walked to the tree to see if Santa had left any presents.
Under the tree was a note from Santa. “I thought these might help to strengthen your hand.” She opened the packages to find colored pencils, brushes, paints and a sketch book. The note continued, “Remember always Jesus Christ is King!” Merry Christmas, Santa.
Author: Maria Taormina
Maria Taormina lives in Grand Blanc, Michigan with her husband, Jim. Between work and home she tries to find a balance to fulfill her true passion, writing. She has a short story published in Lori Wagner’s book, “The Quilting Patches of Life.” She is currently working on two book projects, “Three Lifetimes in One” and “Divine Plates.”