During my early years of childhood, our family was very poor.  We lived in a ratty old house with plaster walls, most of which was missing.  My mom would stuff old rags in between the cracks to keep the cold out.  I wore hand-me-downs until I was eight years old, and slept in a crib until I was six.  Christmas for us was very different indeed.  We struggled to have food on the table, so my brother and I rarely had presents.  This poem came from a memory of one Christmas in particular.

A ratty old shack

On the poor side of town;

No Christmas lights

Anywhere to be found.

Inside it’s doors,

Lived a family of four;

Wanting…and hungry…

So very poor!

I remember it well,

‘Twas the house of my youth.

Folks would laugh and point…

They thought us odd, and crude.

But I remember one Christmas,

Particularly well;

And that’s the story

I’m about to tell.

On Christmas morn,

I awoke with a start,

Excitement galore

Pounding through my heart!

No tree to be found…

Too poor, you see;

But a tiny wooden crate

Addressed to me.

I opened up the tiny crate,

And there inside I saw,

A tiny babe, looking back at me

Nestled in the yellow straw.

Daddy hoped I wouldn’t notice,

For I was very small,

But the babe inside the wooden crate,

Was my old baby doll.

My face must have shown

The disappointment I felt,

For dad’s eyes began to tear,

As his heart did melt.

He said, “Forgive me honey…

I doubt you’ll understand,

But daddy has no money

For presents like he’d planned.

So I searched the whole house over,

And gave you the best I had…

This tiny babe within the straw…

With love, to you…from dad.”

As the years flew by, I came to love

The memory of that night.

It is a time I will never forget,

For it brought me to The Light!

The Light held within that wooden box,

That first Christmas so long ago,

When God sent His Son to be born in a manger,

Here, on this earth below.

That’s how my daddy first introduced me

To my Heavenly Father above;

With that tiny doll, in the wooden box,

Given, with all of his love.

But, that baby Jesus, in the wooden manger

Is who God sent to me…

He’s the gift of love,

From God the Father, above…

A gift from Him…to me!

By:  Anita Mondragon