December 10, 2015
Anticipating Christmas morning’s enthusiastic flurry of pulling off bows and tearing through wrapped presents is the prominent function of a small child’s imagination. Little girls wonder if a new Barbie doll awaits; while little boys dream of a Spiderman figurine. Excitedly revealing hidden treasures beneath brightly decorated gift wrap is one of the most frenzied joys of Christmas morning.
However, this Christmas in the tiny town of Destin, Florida, lives five year old Faith, who only wants one thing for Christmas. It can’t be wrapped. It won’t fit in a box. In fact, it isn’t anything you’d find on a store shelf. Yet, it’s all she wishes for…actually, it isn’t even for her. Yet she’s wanted it for as long as she can remember. And at five years old that seems like a very, very long time indeed.
You see, when Faith was born her parents heartbrokenly discovered she was blind. The doctors had no answers. All the tests they’d conducted showed no abnormalities yet the child could not see. Her mother sadly realized she’d never know the brilliant colors of a sunrise. Watch flower petals open and bloom. Faith would never see a movie, or watch a school play. She’d never participate in sports or be a cheerleader. Frantic at the thought of her daughter living in darkness her mother spent the first three years of little Faith’s life taking her to every doctor on the East coast…to no avail. Doctors just shook their heads; never discovering a reason for Faith’s malady. Their only advice was to take Faith home and allow her a chance at a normal life. Sigh, how normal was blindness her mother thought?
Yet, miraculously Faith took it all in stride telling her mommy not to worry so much.
Always a happy child Faith had learned to listen to songs then hum them softly to herself. She could count to 100, knew her ABC’s and even knew the names of colors and the color of certain objects; although she hadn’t seen colors.
Her fingers were her eyes and whenever she wanted to ‘see’ she would delicately move her fingertips lightly across a surface. Shouting with glee when she correctly identified an object!
Her parents couldn’t have been more proud. She could certainly depend on their love, they doted on her tirelessly. Even with her limitations Faith didn’t let life get her down. All she wanted for Christmas was for her mother not to be sad and stop worrying about her. Oh, and a kitten. They had known Faith wanted a kitten but weren’t sure it was such a good idea.
“How will you ever take care of it?” her father inquired. “A pet is a huge responsibility.”
“I’ll love it and feed it and let it sleep in my bed. Pleeeeease may I have a kitten?” Faith pleaded, almost in tears. “I’ll keep my room clean and everything!” she promised hoping that would sway her parent’s decision.
But her mother was too concerned Faith could accidently be scratched and couldn’t risk her being hurt.
“I’m sorry sweetie, maybe when you are older.” Her mother said leaning over kissing her on top of the head.
Christmas Eve day was spent running last minute errands with mom then helping make gingerbread cookies. Later that evening an exhausted little girl folded her tiny hands together to say her evening prayers. Faith whispered, “God, I know you are busy making miracles but if you could tell my mom to stop worrying about me so much then she could stop crying when she thinks no one is around. She is very sad and I want her to be happy. Like me! Oh, and tell Jesus Happy Birthday tomorrow. We love you and everybody. Amen.”
Her mother held back tears hearing her daughter’s selfless words. Kissing Faith goodnight and tucking the covers in close, her mother stood and walked slowly out the door and down the hall.
Sighing she recounted their daughter’s prayer to her husband as they climbed in bed. Hugging his wife he brushed a tear from her cheek. Silently they held each other as the hours ticked by hoping it wouldn’t break Faith’s heart not to receive a kitten. Finally falling asleep they were certain Faith would enjoy a trip to Grandma’s house the next day.
“I’m going to feed you and love you and let you sleep in my bed!” Faith’s voice trailed excitedly from downstairs.
“Who is she talking to?” her mother asked Faith’s dad as he tried to shake off sleep.
“What time is it?” he responded.
“Five. Faith is talking to someone downstairs.” She said alarmed.
Rushing downstairs her parents came to a sudden halt at the bottom. Faith was dancing around the room with a kitten nestled in her arms. Stunned, her parents glanced at each other. “Did you?”
Shaking her head no Faith’s mom called out, “Faith where did you find that kitten?”
“She was sleeping under the tree. Isn’t she beautiful? A fluffy white kitten, just for me!” Faith squealed.
“D-d-did you say white?” her father stammered.
“Yes daddy; can’t you see she’s as white as snow.” Faith said matter-of-factly.
Rushing to their daughter her mother blurted out, “Can, can you see me?!”
“Yes mommy, you are beautiful too. I told God you were sad so He made my eyes work so you wouldn’t worry so much. And then He gave me a kitten!”
Crying her parents hugged her.
“Mom.” Faith spoke softly while the kitten purred in her embrace.
“Yes?” her mother managed.
“Why did you name me Faith?”
Choking back tears her mother said quietly, “When we found out you were born blind we named you Faith to remind us to never lose ours.”
Wishing everyone happiness, joy and faith this Christmas and always. Celebrate by remembering the reason for this glorious season of selfless lovingkindness.