Eldon Hennings was a disgrace of a father, and a drunk. This year, Eldon’s very patient wife, Myrtle saved every cent she could so that their kids could have Christmas. This wasn’t easy, as every cent usually ended up in the hands of the bartender at the Watering Hole, a local bar down the street. Still, Myrtle managed to save enough to get her kids something special this Christmas.
One night when Eldon came home in his usual drunken rage, he forced Myrtle into telling him where she was hiding the money. Reluctantly, she told him. He threw her little jar across the floor, and bending to pick up every penny, he cursed at her and left abruptly. She knew where he was headed.
Still, Myrtle worked hard to give her kids a good life. This was Christmas Eve and she was alone with the kids…again. Eldon hadn’t come home so she had to do everything on her own, like every year. She prepared a special supper and decorated the tree with all the special decorations she had collected over the years. Some of them were broken from the time Eldon fell on the tree, but she fixed them and used them anyway.
With the tree decorated, the kids fed, and off to bed, Myrtle worried about her family. Since Eldon had taken all her Christmas money, she had nothing to put under the tree for the kids. Sadly, she said a little prayer, and went off to bed…alone.
The next morning, Myrtle woke up early. Eldon was lying next to her. He must have came home later in the night and she didn’t hear him. “The gifts! You stole the money and drank it and now they don’t have Christmas!”
“Don’t worry, I got them something. What do you take me for?” asked Eldon.
Myrtle ran downstairs to find the kids sitting around the tree, excited at the one gift in front of them. The label had all their names on it, written very sloppy.
“Santa didn’t forget us, he remembered!” said the youngest one, as he snatched the gift and was about to open it.
The others allowed the youngest to open the gift. He tore at the paper and revealed the gift to the others. With the paper off the gift, the kids all stared sadly at it. Myrtle took one look at it and ran to the bedroom, crying. Eldon had wrapped up his empty Whiskey bottle. This was their Christmas gift from Santa.
The entire house went quiet as Eldon stood in the living room looking confused; and then something happened. All the kids formed a circle in the middle of the room and began playing spin the bottle. “Santa must have been poor like us this Christmas!” they said.
With Myrtle furious, Eldon sitting and laughing with the kids, and her Christmas ruined again this year, a knock came at the door. When she opened it, she found several beautifully wrapped boxes sitting on the step. There was a box for each of the kids, and they ran and opened their gifts right away.
There was a toy train for Lucas, a doll for Mary, a baseball glove for Tommy, a dress for Lucy, a ride on horse for Billy, a wagon for Ricky, and a colouring set for Sally. There was also another box, wrapped with the prettiest silver paper, and a nice bow. This one had a note on it.
“This one is for my beautiful and very patient wife Myrtle. You have put up with my drunkenness long enough. I never thought about you and the kids in all the years you put up with having me as your husband. Last night I planned on buying booze with the money, but something strange came over me. It was as if something was telling me to change. It was almost as if something inside me had awoken and made me see the error of my ways. I love you Myrtle, and I will do my best to change”
Myrtle ran for Eldon, and held him in her arms. She was surprised to find that he didn’t reek of booze, and that he had shaved and cleaned up real good.
From that Christmas on, things were different for the Hennings family. All because of a special little prayer made by a desperate woman on Christmas Eve.